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Cleveland Browns player whose girlfriend was killed in a car accident is playing vs.Jets tonight – Daily Mail

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Browns defensive end Chris Smith took the field tonight in his team’s game against the New York Jets less than a week after his girlfriend, the mother of his newborn daughter, was killed in a car accident on a Cleveland highway.

Petara Cordero, 26, was fatally struck by an oncoming vehicle after exiting Smith’s Lamborghini on I-90 West in Cleveland early Wednesday morning.

She had given birth to Smith’s child, Haven Harris Smith, in late August.

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‘I am going to play tonight because it is something she would want me to do,’ the 27-year-old pro-ball player said of Cordero in a statement obtained by WKYC.

Browns defensive end Chris Smith hugs someone after taking the field tonight in his team's game against the New York Jets less than a week after his girlfriend and the mother of his newborn daughter was killed in a car accident on a Cleveland highway

Browns defensive end Chris Smith hugs someone after taking the field tonight in his team's game against the New York Jets less than a week after his girlfriend and the mother of his newborn daughter was killed in a car accident on a Cleveland highway

Browns defensive end Chris Smith hugs someone after taking the field tonight in his team’s game against the New York Jets less than a week after his girlfriend and the mother of his newborn daughter was killed in a car accident on a Cleveland highway

Cleveland Browns defensive end Chris Smith (50) stands with teammates during the second half of an NFL football game against the New York Jets Monday night

Cleveland Browns defensive end Chris Smith (50) stands with teammates during the second half of an NFL football game against the New York Jets Monday night

Ty Montgomery #88 of the New York Jets runs with the ball against Chris Smith #50 of the Cleveland Browns in the second quarter at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey Monday night

Ty Montgomery #88 of the New York Jets runs with the ball against Chris Smith #50 of the Cleveland Browns in the second quarter at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey Monday night

Photographers snapped a few photos of Chris Smith in action on Monday Night Football

Cleveland Browns' Chris Smith (50) stands with teammates during the second half of an NFL game against the New York Jets in East Rutherford, N.J. Monday night

Cleveland Browns' Chris Smith (50) stands with teammates during the second half of an NFL game against the New York Jets in East Rutherford, N.J. Monday night

Cleveland Browns’ Chris Smith (50) stands with teammates during the second half of an NFL game against the New York Jets in East Rutherford, N.J. Monday night

Cleveland Browns defensive end Chris Smith (50) goes into play during the second half of a game against the New York Jets in East Rutherford, N.J. on Monday

Cleveland Browns defensive end Chris Smith (50) goes into play during the second half of a game against the New York Jets in East Rutherford, N.J. on Monday

Cleveland Browns defensive end Chris Smith (50) goes into play during the second half of a game against the New York Jets in East Rutherford, N.J. on Monday

Chris Smith (right), a defensive end for the NFL's Cleveland Browns, and his 26-year-old girlfriend, Petara Cordero (left), who died after she was struck by a suspected drunk driver

Chris Smith (right), a defensive end for the NFL's Cleveland Browns, and his 26-year-old girlfriend, Petara Cordero (left), who died after she was struck by a suspected drunk driver

Chris Smith (right), a defensive end for the NFL’s Cleveland Browns, and his 26-year-old girlfriend, Petara Cordero (left), who died after she was struck by a suspected drunk driver 

Cleveland Browns defensive end Chris Smith

Cleveland Browns defensive end Chris Smith

Petara Cordero

Petara Cordero

The Cleveland Browns made Smith an honorary captain for tonight’s game. His girlfriend gave birth to their daughter in late August

‘She would want me to keep doing what I love and stay strong. I play for her tonight,’ Smith continued. She is my why.’ 

Smith’s agent, Nicole Lynn, tweeted out a picture of him on the field before the start of the game tonight.

‘Tonight he plays for her,’ she wrote. 

The Browns have made Smith an honorary captain for tonight’s game, according to a tweet from team spokesperson Dan Murphy.

The grieving widower posted a photo of his baby girl wearing a Browns onesie on his Instagram story before the game along with another photo of a pair of brown cleats with the words ‘stay strong,’ written on them in orange letters.

Smith posted a photo of a pair of brown cleats on his Instagram story before the game

Smith posted a photo of a pair of brown cleats on his Instagram story before the game

Haven Harris Smith

Haven Harris Smith

Smith posted a photo of a pair of brown cleats on his Instagram story before the game along with a recent photo of his newborn daughter

Cordero and Smith had been driving down the highway in his luxury Italian sports car less than a week ago when a tire on the vehicle burst, causing the car to veer left before hitting a median near the West 140th Street exit.

After his tire blew out, Smith pulled over to the shoulder and Cordero stepped out of the passenger-side door, where she was suddenly hit by a Mazda coming from the opposite direction.

The 26-year-old new mother was rushed to Cleveland Clinic Fairview Hospital, but tragically she was pronounced dead a short while after. 

Police identified Tracy McIvor, 47, as the driver of the other car. She later confessed to drinking before getting behind the wheel. The results of a toxicology report to determine whether or not McIvor was legally drunk have not been released yet.

A recent mourning IG post from Smith included a number of photographs of Cordero, including one of her wearing a face mask while Facetiming him

A recent mourning IG post from Smith included a number of photographs of Cordero, including one of her wearing a face mask while Facetiming him

A recent mourning IG post from Smith included a number of photographs of Cordero, including one of her wearing a face mask while Facetiming him

Smith posted other photos of the two of them together. They are seen above with an unidentified individual

Smith posted other photos of the two of them together. They are seen above with an unidentified individual

Smith posted other photos of the two of them together. They are seen above with an unidentified individual

The sports world was left heartbroken by the news of Cordero's death on Wednesday

The sports world was left heartbroken by the news of Cordero's death on Wednesday

The sports world was left heartbroken by the news of Cordero’s death on Wednesday

Smith previously wrote an Instagram post about dealing with the pain of losing his ‘wifey,’ and ‘best friend.’

‘God has a plan for all of us we can’t understand but she is in a better place now and she can rest easy,’ he wrote.

‘My wifey my best friend and the mother of my beautiful daughter. Love you baby.’

The caption ended with a heart emoji as well as the praying hands emoji and the hashtags #StayStrong and #RIPMyLove.

The post included a number of photographs of Cordero, including one of her wearing a face mask while Facetiming Smith.

Other photos showed Smith and Cordero together. 

Petara Cordero

Petara Cordero

Chris Smith

Chris Smith

Cordero, 26, was fatally struck by an oncoming vehicle after exiting Smith’s Lamborghini on I-90 West in Cleveland

Cordero and Smith recently celebrated the birth of their daughter, Haven Harris Smith, on August 27

Cordero and Smith recently celebrated the birth of their daughter, Haven Harris Smith, on August 27

Cordero and Smith recently celebrated the birth of their daughter, Haven Harris Smith, on August 27 

Cordero and Smith, 27, had been driving when the NFL star's Lamborghini had a tire malfunction which sent the car spinning out of control and into the median near the West 140th Street exit

Cordero and Smith, 27, had been driving when the NFL star's Lamborghini had a tire malfunction which sent the car spinning out of control and into the median near the West 140th Street exit

Cordero and Smith, 27, had been driving when the NFL star’s Lamborghini had a tire malfunction which sent the car spinning out of control and into the median near the West 140th Street exit

McIvor has not been charged while police await the results of a toxicology report. 

Browns players have since rallied around Smith, who is ‘a team favorite’ and a ‘big brother figure’ to some, according to Cleveland.com. 

Teammates such as quarterback Baker Mayfield have been continuously visiting with Smith.

‘Words cannot describe the sorrow we feel for Chris following the loss of his girlfriend, Petara,’ said Cleveland Brown owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam in a statement, revealing Cordero’s death. 

Cordero had stepped out of the car when she was hit by a Mazda coming from the opposite direction

Cordero had stepped out of the car when she was hit by a Mazda coming from the opposite direction

Cordero had stepped out of the car when she was hit by a Mazda coming from the opposite direction

Cordeo shared photos of their baby girl, saying ‘This little girl has filled my heart with so much joy and love !! I’m so thankful that God chose me to be her mommy!! So excited for this life journey with you!!!’

Cordeo shared photos of their baby girl, saying ‘This little girl has filled my heart with so much joy and love !! I’m so thankful that God chose me to be her mommy!! So excited for this life journey with you!!!’

Cordeo shared photos of their baby girl, saying ‘This little girl has filled my heart with so much joy and love !! I’m so thankful that God chose me to be her mommy!! So excited for this life journey with you!!!’

Here young Haven Harris Smith is seen being fed by her father

Here young Haven Harris Smith is seen being fed by her father

Here young Haven Harris Smith is seen being fed by her father 

Cordero posted extensive video of her baby shower on Instagram. She and her friends can be seen playing many common baby shower games, and even Smith can be seen taking part

Cordero posted extensive video of her baby shower on Instagram. She and her friends can be seen playing many common baby shower games, and even Smith can be seen taking part

Cordero wore a long, pink dress for her baby shower

Cordero wore a long, pink dress for her baby shower

Cordero posted extensive video of her baby shower on Instagram. She and her friends can be seen playing many common baby shower games, and even Smith can be seen taking part

‘Our entire organization mourns with Chris, his family and the Cordero family. We will do everything possible to offer them our support, comfort and any resources in this most difficult time.’

Cordero’s brother shared his grief on Facebook: ‘I love you beautiful you will forever be missed I cant believe this. I cant believe I even got that call. I cant believe I’m even writing this. Rest in heaven baby sis I love you! this s*** hurts so bad!!!’ 

Cordero’s tragic death comes less than a month after she and Smith celebrated the birth of their daughter.

The couple recently announced Haven’s birth in a series of heartfelt Instagram posts.

Cordero and Smith, 27, had been driving down the highway when the NFL star's Lamborghini suffered a tire malfunction and sent the car spinning out of control into a median near the West 140th Street exit. Unharmed in the crash, Cordero stepped out of the passenger-side door, at the median, where she was suddenly hit by a Mazda coming from the opposite direction

Cordero and Smith, 27, had been driving down the highway when the NFL star's Lamborghini suffered a tire malfunction and sent the car spinning out of control into a median near the West 140th Street exit. Unharmed in the crash, Cordero stepped out of the passenger-side door, at the median, where she was suddenly hit by a Mazda coming from the opposite direction

Cordero and Smith, 27, had been driving down the highway when the NFL star’s Lamborghini suffered a tire malfunction and sent the car spinning out of control into a median near the West 140th Street exit. Unharmed in the crash, Cordero stepped out of the passenger-side door, at the median, where she was suddenly hit by a Mazda coming from the opposite direction

The daughter of Cordero and Chris Smith, Haven Harris Smith was born on August 27

The daughter of Cordero and Chris Smith, Haven Harris Smith was born on August 27

 The daughter of Cordero and Chris Smith, Haven Harris Smith was born on August 27

Cordero recently celebrated her 26th birthday and marked the occasion by sharing some personal thoughts on Instagram. 'I always prayed to God for true happiness and unconditional love and here I am on my 26th birthday with a man that loves me a great deal,family and friends that mean the world to me all while waiting on my beautiful daughter Haven to arrive,' she wrote. 'Thank you God, you’re showing out'

Cordero recently celebrated her 26th birthday and marked the occasion by sharing some personal thoughts on Instagram. 'I always prayed to God for true happiness and unconditional love and here I am on my 26th birthday with a man that loves me a great deal,family and friends that mean the world to me all while waiting on my beautiful daughter Haven to arrive,' she wrote. 'Thank you God, you’re showing out'

Cordero recently celebrated her 26th birthday and marked the occasion by sharing some personal thoughts on Instagram. ‘I always prayed to God for true happiness and unconditional love and here I am on my 26th birthday with a man that loves me a great deal,family and friends that mean the world to me all while waiting on my beautiful daughter Haven to arrive,’ she wrote. ‘Thank you God, you’re showing out’ 

‘I’m so thankful to have another beautiful gift in this world my daughter Haven Harris Smith,’ the defensive end said on August 27. ‘You are such a blessing to me and your mother!! Love you Petara and Baby Have.’

Cordero also shared photos of their baby girl, saying ‘This little girl has filled my heart with so much joy and love !! I’m so thankful that God chose me to be her mommy!! So excited for this life journey with you!!!’

Previously the couple revealed the gender of the child in a video posted to Instagram in March. Cordero’s caption read: ‘Overjoyed with this blessing God has given us. My heart is full. [We] can’t wait to meet our princess. Thank you God.’

That Instagram post has since become a space for people to share their condolences.  

Cordero posted several pictures of herself on Instagram in the months before giving birth

Cordero posted several pictures of herself on Instagram in the months before giving birth

Cordero posted several pictures of herself on Instagram in the months before giving birth

Cordero's Instagram account has become a space for those who are grieving. One commenter wrote 'Rest in paradise beautiful angel,' while many others simply added, 'RIP'

Cordero's Instagram account has become a space for those who are grieving. One commenter wrote 'Rest in paradise beautiful angel,' while many others simply added, 'RIP'

Cordero’s Instagram account has become a space for those who are grieving. One commenter wrote ‘Rest in paradise beautiful angel,’ while many others simply added, ‘RIP’

One friend of Cordero's shared several group pictures on Facebook: 'The memories we made will never fade, the laughs we had will never be forgotten, the memories we created will forever be cherished. You were a special person and it hurts my soul knowing you are gone. I’m not an emotional person but for you I will shed some tears. Praying for not only your family to get through this but also your boyfriend and y’all newborn daughter. I love you PT'

One friend of Cordero's shared several group pictures on Facebook: 'The memories we made will never fade, the laughs we had will never be forgotten, the memories we created will forever be cherished. You were a special person and it hurts my soul knowing you are gone. I’m not an emotional person but for you I will shed some tears. Praying for not only your family to get through this but also your boyfriend and y’all newborn daughter. I love you PT'

One friend of Cordero’s shared several group pictures on Facebook: ‘The memories we made will never fade, the laughs we had will never be forgotten, the memories we created will forever be cherished. You were a special person and it hurts my soul knowing you are gone. I’m not an emotional person but for you I will shed some tears. Praying for not only your family to get through this but also your boyfriend and y’all newborn daughter. I love you PT’

Similarly, Cordero posted extensive video of her baby shower on Instagram. She and her friends can be seen playing many common baby shower games, and even Smith can be seen taking part.

She also shared a picture of a letter sent to her by a co-worker, who gave her $5 ‘to start a little piggy bank.’

‘I’ve watched you grow over the last couple of years,’ the letter reads, ‘and it’s been such a pleasure working with you!’

Haven Harris Smith (pictured) is not Chris' first child. He also has an older son and daughter, as seen on his Instagram account. Haven was born on August 27

Haven Harris Smith (pictured) is not Chris' first child. He also has an older son and daughter, as seen on his Instagram account. Haven was born on August 27

Haven Harris Smith (pictured) is not Chris’ first child. He also has an older son and daughter, as seen on his Instagram account. Haven was born on August 27

Cordero later wrote on Instagram, ‘I feel so loved,’ following her baby shower.  

In July, Cordero shared pictures of a trip she took with Smith to Puerto Rico, writing, ‘Birthday trip with my baby.’ 

One friend of Cordero’s shared several group pictures on Facebook after her death.

‘The memories we made will never fade, the laughs we had will never be forgotten, the memories we created will forever be cherished,’ he wrote. ‘You were a special person and it hurts my soul knowing you are gone. I’m not an emotional person but for you I will shed some tears. Praying for not only your family to get through this but also your boyfriend and y’all newborn daughter. I love you PT.’

Another friend responded to the post: ‘She will definitely be missed. That infectious laugh. Her spirit. Everything about her. Bro. I’m completely heart broken.’

Cordero recently celebrated her 26th birthday and marked the occasion by sharing some personal thoughts on Instagram. 

‘I always prayed to God for true happiness and unconditional love and here I am on my 26th birthday with a man that loves me a great deal, family and friends that mean the world to me all while waiting on my beautiful daughter Haven to arrive,’ she wrote. ‘Thank you God, you’re showing out.’

Cordero wrote on Instagram, 'I feel so loved,' following her baby shower

Cordero wrote on Instagram, 'I feel so loved,' following her baby shower

Cordero shared video of her friends playing games at her recent baby shower

Cordero shared video of her friends playing games at her recent baby shower

Cordero wrote on Instagram, ‘I feel so loved,’ following her baby shower 

Previously the couple revealed the gender of the child in a video posted to Instagram in March. Cordero's caption read: 'Overjoyed with this blessing God has given us. My heart is full. [We] can't wait to meet our princess. Thank you God.' That Instagram post has since become a space for people to share their condolences

Previously the couple revealed the gender of the child in a video posted to Instagram in March. Cordero's caption read: 'Overjoyed with this blessing God has given us. My heart is full. [We] can't wait to meet our princess. Thank you God.' That Instagram post has since become a space for people to share their condolences

Previously the couple revealed the gender of the child in a video posted to Instagram in March. Cordero’s caption read: ‘Overjoyed with this blessing God has given us. My heart is full. [We] can’t wait to meet our princess. Thank you God.’ That Instagram post has since become a space for people to share their condolences

As a friend of Cordero's (left) wrote on Facebook: 'She will definitely be missed. That infectious laugh. Her spirit. Everything about her. Bro. I’m completely heart broken'

As a friend of Cordero's (left) wrote on Facebook: 'She will definitely be missed. That infectious laugh. Her spirit. Everything about her. Bro. I’m completely heart broken'

As a friend of Cordero’s (left) wrote on Facebook: ‘She will definitely be missed. That infectious laugh. Her spirit. Everything about her. Bro. I’m completely heart broken’ 

In July, Cordero shared pictures of a trip she took with Smith to Puerto Rico, writing, 'Birthday trip with my baby'

In July, Cordero shared pictures of a trip she took with Smith to Puerto Rico, writing, 'Birthday trip with my baby'

In July, Cordero shared pictures of a trip she took with Smith to Puerto Rico, writing, ‘Birthday trip with my baby’

Browns players were notified of Cordero’s death during a team meeting on Wednesday morning and counselors were on site to help staff and players in need.

‘Smith will receive the full team’s support of resources and will have the opportunity to grieve as he sees best fit, including being excused from or participating in any team activities, if desired,’ a representative from the Browns said.

Just days before her death, the first-time mom posted a photograph of Smith kissing her on the forehead, saying, ‘This is a forever thing, I love you through everything.’

A native of North Carolina, Smith attended Arkansas and was later picked by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the fifth round of the 2014 NFL Draft. After a season in Cincinnati, Smith signed a three-year deal with the Browns in March of 2018.

Smith currently serves as the top backup behind former Pro Bowl selection, Olivier Vernon.

The NFL veteran has been active in charity work, specifically helping the Akron Children’s Hospital and the National Kidney Foundation. 

Smith and Cordero shared video of their baby gender reveal party in March

Smith and Cordero shared video of their baby gender reveal party in March

Smith and Cordero shared video of their baby gender reveal party in March

The couple lit a pair of smoke bombs, which began spewing pink smoke

The couple lit a pair of smoke bombs, which began spewing pink smoke

The couple lit a pair of smoke bombs, which began spewing pink smoke 

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