West Virginia running back Wendell Smallwood was just drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles, but his joy has been muddied by the resurfacing of several old tweets in which he slammed the City of Brotherly Love with derogatory and homophobic slurs.
Smallwood, who deleted his Twitter account as soon as he was drafted, says he was in high school when he sent those messages and is a different man now.
“The stuff on Twitter — I was young,” said Smallwood told Penn Live. “It’s real embarrassing. I don’t believe anything I said. I’ve definitely grown since that stuff was sent out. I’ve learned from it.”
He claims he had forgotten those specific tweets until this weekend.”I didn’t think about it. Then when it blew up, it definitely was brought to my attention.”
Eagle VP Howie Roseman said the team knows about the tweets is embracing the young player nonetheless.
“A lot has changed between now and then. We don’t condone anything he said. But we spent a lot of time with him and we feel this is a good kid.”
That’s no the only shadow on Smallwood’s past, though: He was arrested in the summer of 2014 for allegedly trying to intimidate a witness in a murder investigation involving a friend. (Charges were dropped when the friend pleaded guilty.)
He says he discussed the incident with the Eagles, and every other team he interviewed with.
“I was young, hanging out with the wrong people. I was never around whatever happened. I wasn’t involved. There was no evidence, no witness against me… I’m just trying to move forward and being a man from that.”