The girlfriend of Cleveland Browns defensive end Chris Smith was killed Wednesday morning in a car accident, the NFL team said in a statement.
Petara Cordero was in Smith’s 2019 Lamborghini when the couple pulled over to the side of I-90 West in Cleveland around 2 a.m. after a tire blew. The car veered left and hit the median.
Without significant injuries, Cordero got out of the car. Shortly after, a woman in a 2017 Mazda 3 hit the passenger’s side of Smith’s car and Cordero, who was standing on the shoulder, Cleveland police said in a statement to CNN.
Police and paramedics arrived on scene shortly after. Cordero, 26, was taken to the hospital, where she was pronounced dead.
The driver of the second car was also taken to the hospital, where she was to be released after receiving care. The woman admitted she had been drinking, police said. A toxicology report is pending.
Smith was not impaired, police said.
The incident is under investigation, and no charges have been filed as of this time.
The Browns said players were notified during a team meeting. Head coach Freddie Kitchens also visited Smith at his home.
“Words cannot describe the sorrow we feel for Chris following the loss of his girlfriend, Petara,” team owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam said in a statement. “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.”
The Browns will have counselors on site throughout the week to provide emotional support for players and staff.
Mary Cay Cabot of Cleveland.com says Cordero and Smith’s daughter, Haven Harris Smith, was born four weeks ago. Smith was excused from the Browns’ preseason game against the Indianapolis Colts in August, so he could attend the birth of his daughter.
Smith, 27, was drafted in 2014 by the Jaguars. He has been with the Browns since last year.
CNN’s Rebekah Riess contributed to this report.
CLEVELAND — A man is speaking out after he claims the Cleveland Browns wrongfully accused him of pouring beer on some of the players during the home opener against the Tennessee Titans last Sunday.
Late in the fourth quarter, Titan’s cornerback Malcolm Butler picked off Baker Mayfield and returned it for the touchdown. During the celebration, fellow cornerback Logan Ryan jumped into the stands. That’s when a fan in a Baker Mayfield jersey dumped beer on the players.
Eric Smith tells FOX 8 someone from the team then called him and started making allegations.
“He just kind of doubled down on everything like we know it was you and I got mad, I got really angry and I started raising my voice at him. He said you don’t have to get defensive if you are innocent then you wouldn’t be so defensive and if you are not a fan like you say then this wont matter to you. I was like, well it kind of matters,” he recalls.
NFLPA contacts NFL after Browns fan throws beer at Titans
Smith said he wasn’t even at the game and hasn’t been to one in years, so he’s not sure how they got his information.
On Tuesday, the Browns issued a statement saying they believe they’ve identified the person responsible.
“This individual person’s action is not tolerated in our building as it is not reflective of our fan base or city. We are currently addressing the situation internally, along with NFL Security, and we believe we have identified the person involved. He will ultimately face an indefinite ban from FirstEnergy Stadium for the unacceptable behavior, which is in clear violation of our Fan Code of Conduct.”
However, on Wednesday, they sent out another statement that they have not explicitly identified the individual.
“Our investigation of the fan incident on Sunday at FirstEnergy Stadium remains ongoing. While we are continuing to gather information and have been in contact with multiple people as part of that process, we have not explicitly identified the individual involved or taken any formal action of punishment at this time. We will have no further comment until the investigation is complete,” a Browns spokesman said in an updated statement released Wednesday.
Titans cornerback Logan Ryan took to Twitter following the game to express his frustration with the incident.
“They can pour beer on us because we’re just athletes right? We’re just entertainment & since they purchased a ticket they can act how they want?” Ryan said.
The NFL Players Association said it would bring the matter to the league.