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Will Smith's wife Racquel was shot first, attorney says

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The wife of slain former Saints player Will Smith was reportedly shot before her husband was killed during an incident on April 9, the Smith family attorney said Wednesday. 

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According to attorney Peter Thomson, Racquel Smith was deliberately shot first by Cardell Hayes, 28, who later shot and killed Will Smith. Racquel Smith suffered gunshot wounds to both legs and remains at University Medical Center in New Orleans, where she is being treated.

Hayes' defense attorney has said that an altercation ensued between Hayes and Will Smith after Smith brandished a weapon, leading Hayes to feel "threatened."

"Smith had a gun and was going to shoot it and Cardell may have saved both of their lives," attorney Tanzanike Ruffin told NBC Sports. "In my mind, this is justifiable homicide. We assume Will Smith is a saint, but he’s not."

>> Will Smith shooting: Guns found, possible stand your ground defense 

A loaded 9 mm handgun was found Saturday night in Will Smith's SUV, but the weapon did not appear to have been fired in the incident, law enforcement authorities said.

"I am not aware of any threats by Mr. Smith to go get a gun," said Thomson, who also said that Will Smith was licensed to carry a concealed weapon but that he never had a chance to take his gun out of a console in his car before Hayes shot him. "I'm aware of nothing that Will Smith did that would cause this killer to be afraid for his life. There's nothing Will Smith could have ever said to have caused that specific intent to shoot and kill him and specific intent to shoot his wife."

According to police, the incident in which Will Smith was killed started when Hayes’ vehicle was rear-ended by Smith’s SUV. Will Smith drove off and Hayes followed, rear-ending Will Smith about a block and a half from the first incident. The two men got out of their vehicles and argued, police said.

"(Hayes) was enraged, yelling and cursing," Thomson said at a news conference, referring to video surveillance that captured the incident.

"(Racquel Smith) was actually telling the shooter, before the shooting occurred, 'Leave us alone. Go back to your car. We have children. This is not worth this,'" Thomson said. "And (she was) holding her hand up to him to ask him to stop."

Hayes shot at Will Smith, striking him in the back eight times, killing him and injuring his wife, authorities said.

"At no time during this event did Will Smith either brandish or carry a firearm," Thomson said.

"Hayes was on the scene when officers arrived and identified himself as the shooter. Detectives detained and questioned Hayes. Based on the interview and evidence gathered from the scene, detectives arrested Hayes and booked him (on charges of) second-degree murder. An additional charge for Racquel Smith's injury is pending further investigation," a statement from New Orleans police said.

>> Will Smith dined with cop accused of killing Cardell Hayes' father

Will Smith, 34, was drafted by the Saints in 2004 and played nine seasons with the team. The shooting happened Saturday night in the Lower Garden District of New Orleans.

>> Family, New Orleans Saints mourn loss of Will Smith

On Sunday, a judge set Hayes' bail at $1 million. He has not entered a plea.   

"(Racquel) asked me to say that Will was a wonderful husband, wonderful father, adored by her and her children," Thompson said. "She considered him her Superman. And that night, as he always does, he was trying to protect her the best he could."

Will Smith dined with cop accused of killing Cardell Hayes' father

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The suspect in Saturday's fatal shooting of former New Orleans Saints defensive end Will Smith previously filed a lawsuit against the city after officers killed his father, according to local reports.

One of the officers named in the lawsuit told The Advocate he met with Smith for dinner shortly before the shooting.

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Cardell Hayes' father, Anthony Hayes, was shot and killed by New Orleans police officers in 2005 after he got into an argument with an employee at a local pharmacy while armed with a pocket knife, according to The Advocate. The shooting took place just blocks from the area where Cardell Hayes, 28, allegedly shot Smith to death Saturday.

Cardell Hayes sued the city, saying officers should have used non-lethal force to incapacitate his father, who was described by The Advocate as mentally unstable.

The case was settled for an undisclosed amount in 2011.

In his lawsuit, Cardell Hayes named former New Orleans police Capt. Billy Ceravolo as one of the officers who fatally shot his father. Cervolo told The Advocate he met with Smith and former Saints running back Pierre Thomas for dinner in the Lower Garden District shortly before the argument and subsequent shooting that claimed Smith's life.

"Ceravolo, who called Smith and Thomas personal friends, said he was not at the scene of the shooting and was not aware that Hayes had named him in his federal lawsuit," The Advocate reported.

Cardell Hayes was once considered among Louisiana's top prep football players. In 2004, Scout.com listed him as one of the top 50 players in the state for the class of 2005. He played for Warren Easton High School.

“As recently as 2015, it appears he was still playing football for the Crescent City Kings, a local developmental team,” the Times-Picayune reported.

Cardell Hayes was charged with second-degree murder Sunday morning after police said he fired multiple, fatal shots at Smith after he rear-ended Smith's SUV in the Lower Garden District late Saturday.

Smith's wife, who was in the vehicle with him, suffered two gunshot wounds to her leg. Authorities pronounced Smith dead at the scene.

Family, New Orleans Saints mourn loss of Will Smith

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Family, friends and fans mourned the loss of former New Orleans Saints defensive end Will Smith Sunday, one day after he was fatally shot in an apparent road rage incident in the Crescent City.

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In a statement released on behalf of Smith's loved ones, family thanked the public for its support and prayers and asked for privacy “as they grieve the loss of a devoted husband, father and friend.”

“Will was more than an exceptional football player,” New Orleans Saints owners Tom and Gayle Benson said in a statement released by the franchise Sunday morning. “He was a father, a husband, a son, a brother and a teammate to so many, and an inspiration to countless more. … The Saints family is hurting and devastated that it has lost a member too young and too soon.”

Smith, 34, and his wife, Racquel Smith, were shot late Saturday night in an apparent road rage incident in the city's Lower Garden District. The couple was in a Mercedes SUV when they were rear-ended by a Hummer H2, police said in a statement.

Will Smith and the driver of the Hummer “exchanged words,” according to police. The driver of the Hummer then pulled out a gun and fired multiple shots at Will Smith and his wife.

Will Smith died at the scene. His wife was transported to a local hospital with two gunshot wounds to her leg, police said.

“We are devastated and saddened by Will's tragic and preventable death due to a senseless act that will leave a lasting scar on our community forever,” the Saints said in a statement. “Our thoughts and prayers are with Will and his wife Racquel, but more importantly with their children, William, Wynter and Lisa, who are suffering and just starting to realize and deal with an unimaginable loss.”

On Sunday morning, authorities booked Cardell Hayes, 28, into jail on a second-degree murder charge. The Times-Picayune identified Hayes as the man suspected of killing Will Smith.

Suspect in fatal shooting of New Orleans Saints star Will Smith charged with murder

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Police have charged a man with second-degree murder in the shooting death of former New Orleans defensive end Will Smith.

The suspect was identified as Cardell Hayes, 28, the Times-Picayune reported. He was booked into jail around 9:17 a.m. local time, according to the Orleans Parish Sheriff's Office.

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Smith, 34, and his wife, Racquel Smith, were the victims of a double shooting reported late Saturday night in the city's Lower Garden District. The couple was in a Mercedes SUV when they were rear-ended by a Hummer H2, police said in a statement.

The impact of the collision pushed the SUV into another car, which was traveling with the couple.

Smith and the driver of the Hummer "exchanged words" before the driver pulled out a handgun and fired multiple shots at Smith. His wife suffered two gunshot wounds to her right leg, according to police.

Authorities pronounced Smith dead at the scene. His wife was transported to a local hospital for treatment.

Records from Orleans Parish Criminal District Court show Hayes was last arrested in 2010 on charges which included illegally carrying weapons, possession of codeine and possession of drug paraphernalia.

He pleaded guilty to illegally carrying weapons and a possession of drug paraphernalia charge in January 2014 and received a suspended six-month sentence.

Former New Orleans Saints star Will Smith shot, killed

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Former New Orleans Saints defensive end Will Smith was shot and killed late Saturday in New Orleans, according to the Times-Picayune. He was 34.

>> PHOTOS: Notable deaths in 2016

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New Orleans police said Smith and his wife were the victims of a double shooting about 11:29 p.m. Saturday in the city's Lower Garden District, the Times-Picayune reports. Smith and his wife reportedly were in their Mercedes SUV when a Hummer H2 struck their vehicle. After the impact forced Smith's SUV into another car, he and the Hummer's driver "exchanged words," police said.

"The driver of the Hummer produced a handgun and shot the male victim multiple times and his 34-year-old wife twice in the right leg," NOPD spokesman Juan Barnes said. The Hummer's driver is in police custody.

Smith's wife survived and was taken by ambulance to a nearby hospital, police told the newspaper. Smith died at the scene.

Smith, an Ohio State alum, was a first-round pick by the Saints in 2004. He played for the team until 2013.

NFL players took to Twitter to react to the news. Click here or scroll down to see what they were saying.

<iframe src="//storify.com/cmgnationalnews/report-former-new-orleans-saints-star-will-smith-s/embed?header=none&amp;border=false" width="100%" height="750" frameborder="no" allowtransparency="true"></iframe><script src="//storify.com/cmgnationalnews/report-former-new-orleans-saints-star-will-smith-s.js?header=none&amp;border=false"></script>[View the story "Report: Former New Orleans Saints star Will Smith shot, killed" on Storify]

Twitter will stream live NFL games this fall

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The NFL and Twitter announced Tuesday that they will stream live broadcasts of Thursday Night Football without authentication to the more than 800 million users around the globe on the Twitter app for the 2016 season.

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The NFL schedule, which will be released in full this month, will include 10 Thursday night games. 

CBS will broadcast the first five Thursday night and NBC will carry the next five. The games will also be simulcast on the NFL Network. What's to be on the Twitter stream will be what's broadcast by NBC and CBS.

But getting increased viewership for Thursday night games has been difficult. The Thursday night broadcasts haven't brought in half as many fans as Sundays do.

According to ratings house Nielsen, 199 million people tuned into the 2015 NFL regular season, representing 78 percent of all television homes and 67 percent of potential viewers in the United States. NFL games accounted for the top 25 and 46 of the 50 most-watched TV shows among all programming in 2015.

NFL's Gronkowski joins Instagram, fans go wild

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New England Patriots’ tight end Rob Gronkowski joined Instagram to let his followers in on what he's doing in the offseason. 

As fans might expect, Gronk is working hard and playing hard.

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His first Instagram post is a compilation video showing him working out and having fun in signature Gronk fashion.

💡 HERE WE GO BABY! #instagronk #firstgram #nofilter #obviously #gronkspike #you #laugh #me #happy #love #fun #patriots #blessed #hashtag A video posted by Rob Gronkowski (@gronk) on Mar 29, 2016 at 10:01am PDT

Gronk's Instagram account already has over 325,000 followers.

Steelers quarterback Roethlisberger gets sniper training for TV show

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Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is spending the off-season doing a little training away from the football field.

Roethlisberger appeared on the Outdoor Channel’s “Gridiron Outdoors with Mike Pawlawski” this week.

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He worked on his long-range shooting skills with training from a former Navy SEAL.

“You think of all the dream jobs, I wanted to be like James Bond or a ‘Top Gun' fighter pilot, the bad dude that's a sniper that could shoot someone from a mile away. It's kind of pretty cool,” Roethlisberger said.

Roethlisberger’s father, Ken, also participated in the training.

“The sniper part, doing the long-range shooting, working with the SEAL sniper guys. You think of all the dream jobs, I...Posted by Ben Roethlisberger - BigBen7.com on Tuesday, March 15, 2016

WATCH: Eli Manning's touching tribute to big bro Peyton

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A stomach bug kept New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning from appearing in Denver for Peyton Manning's retirement announcement Monday, but that didn't stop him from honoring his big brother's legacy.

Peyton Manning announced his retirement Monday after a prolific 18-year career in the NFL, exactly one month after winning the Super Bowl with the Denver Broncos.

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In a four-minute tribute video called "Brother," Eli Manning and ESPN reporter Tom Rinaldi teamed up to honor Peyton Manning.

In the clip, footage of the quarterback's childhood -- starting with a 3-year-old Peyton Manning playing the game -- is interspersed with photos of the Manning family and some of Peyton Manning's career highlights.

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"As he leaves the field for the final time, it's not for me to say what Peyton's legacy is, or where his career stands, or what it all means," Eli Manning says in the video. "I know what he means to me, and I have a strong feeling I know where he's going sometime in the future... It's to Ohio, in a shrine in Canton (home of the Pro Football Hall of Fame). There, a new family in gold jackets will be waiting for him. Until then, brother, thanks for what you gave to the game."

In an interview posted on the Giants' official website, Eli Manning remembered the influence his older brother had on his own career and the game in general. He said he learned of his brother's impending retirement through a text message from Peyton Manning sent late last week.

"I'll definitely miss him playing football," he said. "I'll miss getting home after a one o'clock game and watching his afternoon game on TV with friends and family... But I am happy for him.

"I am happy, obviously, for him winning a championship and getting to go out being happy about how the last season ended. You don't get to have those feelings very often, to end your football career on a positive note... I am happy that he was able to kind of go out on his own terms."

A look back at all the NFL records set by Peyton Manning

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Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning is set to retire from football, which means all of his historic stats will now be set in stone. 

"We've got the greatest fans out here right now," Manning said at the Broncos' Super Bowl victory celebration in Denver. "These fans have been great all season long."

As Manning exits, what might be the biggest part of his legacy is the staggering amount of records he leaves behind.

>> RELATED: ESPN source: Peyton Manning to announce retirement Monday

Let's start with the basics. No one has thrown for more yards than Manning in NFL history — both in a single season and across a career. The same goes for passing touchdowns.

Manning also tops record books for regular-season wins by a quarterback, though he shares that mark with Brett Favre. But when you factor in the playoffs, Manning pulls away into first place with a nice round total of 200. 

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This makes sense given Manning has made the playoffs 15 times, which happens to be more than any other quarterback in history

Manning's records aren't just about piling up stats — they extend to clutch performances as well. Manning is the NFL's all-time leader in come-from-behind wins and game-winning drives. 

There are always NFL fans that will bring up Manning’s lack of postseason success amid all these regular-season numbers. But after his second Super Bowl title, he's got more rings than Brett Favre, Kurt Warner or Dan Marino. 

Plus, Manning is the only starting quarterback ever to win a Super Bowl title with two different teams. 

Altogether, it's not the worst haul after 18 seasons in the NFL for the five-time MVP. That, by the way, is a record. 

This video includes clips from KMGHNationwide Insurance and NBC and images from Getty Images.

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