Gather a bunch of pro athletes together for a charity golf tournament just before Eagles training camp and the main topic of conversation is easy to figure out.
The occasion was the 37th annual Ron Jaworski Celebrity Golf Challenge this past weekend at Blue Heron Pines Golf Club in Egg Harbor City, an event that raises money annually to help Jaws build playgrounds and athletic fields in Philadelphia and South Jersey.
Jaws raved about Smith, the Eagles’ rookie wide receiver from Alabama.
“This guy has a quick twitch that’s going to just blow people away,” he said. “You can’t touch him at the line of scrimmage. May not have the blazing top speed but, man, can he get open. And he’s tough as nails. Talk about his size, he’s literally never been hurt at Alabama. (Jaylen) Waddell was hurt more than DeVonta was, and he’s a bigger, stronger guy. You just don’t hit Smith, he’s that quick, that agile. And when he gets hit, he’s like a quarterback, he knows how to turn and avoid getting hurt. I think he’s going to be a tremendous asset. He’s a great young man. The people in this town will love him. I’m really excited about DeVonta Smith.”
Jeremy Maclin was very good, but the Eagles haven’t drafted a full-blown superstar wide receiver in the first round since Mike Quick in 1982.
Quick, who was on the receiving end of 33 of Jaworski’s 189 career touchdown passes, participated in his former quarterback’s golf outing this weekend and predicted that Smith will break his share of franchise receiving records, many of which he owns.
“I was just so happy to see that pick fall to the Eagles and see them make that pick,” Quick said. “Just to see a No. 1 draft pick at that position that I really believe could rewrite the record books, I’m excited to watch him mature.”
Also participating in Jaws’ event was current Eagles backup Joe Flacco.
“He can fly,” Flacco said of Smith. “He can run, he can separate. He looks really good.”
This is the 37th year Jaworski has held his fundraising celebrity golf event, which has now raised more than $6 million. Funds from this year’s fundraiser will help build a turf field in Camden and a playground for the Boys and Girls Club of Germantown in Philadelphia.
“It just puts into perspective what we do as celebrities, as people who’ve been blessed to coach or play a sport and come back and help raise money for things like that, and that’s what Jaws’ foundation can do,” Doug Pederson said. “He’s been a staple of this community for so many years, he’s a great friend and a mentor of mine, and anytime I get a chance to support people like that, I’m going to do it and help raise as much money as I can.”
Kyle Pitts, the fourth pick in this year’s draft, grew up in suburban Philadelphia and actually played youth football on a field that was built with money raised by foundations led by both Jaworski and Michael Vick.
“Kyle Pitts is a real-life example of the great work … we can do,” Jaworski said. “We built a football field for the Hunting Park Aztecs. We built a playground over there, Ryan Howard got involved with a baseball field, we made a strong commitment to the kids in that community. Nine years later one of those guys is the fourth pick in the NFL draft, Kyle Pitts is drafted and is going to be a great player in the NFL. We can do great things and Kyle Pitts is the poster child for the work that Michael Vick’s foundation and my foundation can do working together.”
Quick said as long as his former teammate is holding a golf tournament, he’ll show up.
“The reason we’re all here and the reason so many people are giving their resources and time is that Ron’s pouring into the community,” Quick said. “He’s giving opportunities to kids, some of whom wouldn’t otherwise have opportunities. When Ron gives you that date, you put it on your calendar to make sure you’re part of it.”
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