NFL Player Honors Girlfriend Who Died Shortly After Giving Birth to Their Daughter

September 16, 2019 Updated: September 16, 2019

NFL player Chris Smith honored his girlfriend, Petara Cordero, who died on Sept. 11.

Authorities said Cordero, 26, who had given birth to Smith’s child weeks before, was killed in a car crash around 2 a.m. in Cleveland, Ohio.

Smith, 27,  a defensive end for the Cleveland Browns, the city’s National Football League (NFL) team, had recently said he was blessed to have Cordero and their newborn in his life.

“Verified I’m so thankful to have another beautiful gift in this world my daughter Haven Harris Smith. You are such a blessing to me and your mother!! Love you Petara and Baby Haven,” he wrote on Instagram weeks before the accident, sharing a picture of his girlfriend and baby.

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Smith took to Instagram several days after the traffic accident to pay tribute to his deceased partner.

“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 said.

“My wifey my best friend and the mother of my beautiful daughter. Love you baby.”

On Instagram Story, Smith said he got the words “Stay Strong” tattooed on himself along with several other loved ones. Cordero had the words tattooed on her chest.

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According to the Browns, Smith and Cordero were on the side of I-90 West after Smith’s vehicle had a tire malfunction, causing the car to enter a spin and hit the median.

Cordero did not suffer significant injuries in the crash, but after leaving the vehicle, she was struck by another car.

Smith was not driving impaired, the team said. He was also not injured.

The female driver who hit Cordero admitted to drinking, News 5 reported. She was treated at a hospital and released and no charges have been filed as of yet.

The Browns’ owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam said in a statement: “Words cannot describe the sorrow we feel for Chris following the loss of his girlfriend, Petara. 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 said head coach Freddie Kitchens visited Smith at his home and that the team was providing counselors for players throughout the week for emotional support following the sudden death.

Follow Zachary on Twitter: @zackstieber