Philadelphia Eagles rookie Jalen Carter facing lawsuit over crash that killed former teammate

Philadelphia Eagles rookie first-round pick Jalen Carter was in the news for all the wrong reasons leading up to the 2023 NFL Draft earlier this spring.

In fact, Carter had to leave the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis back in March to face charges of reckless driving and street racing stemming from a January incident in which former Georgia teammate Devin Willock and staffer Chandler LeCroy were killed shortly after the Bulldogs’ championship game win over Texas Christian.

Now, just a couple weeks after being the No. 9 overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft by Philadelphia, Carter has been named a defendant in a lawsuit. Said lawsuit was brought on Tuesday by Willock’s father and seeks $40 million in total damages.

The University of Georgia Athletic Association were also named as defendants in the case. This came after Willock’s father notified the University of Georgia last month that he was seeking $2 million in damages stemming from a different lawsuit.

“The attorneys who filed the Complaint have refused to provide any factual basis for their claims against the Athletic Association, and we believe the evidence will prove them to be without merit,” the Georgia Athletic Association said in a statement. “We intend to strongly dispute these baseless allegations in Court.”

University of Georgia statement on the lawsuit, via ESPN

According to police in Athens, LeCroy was racing Jalen Carter’s car at the time of the accident. Both he and Willock passed away on January 15, roughly two miles from the Georgia campus.

As for the charges against Carter, he pleaded no contest to reckless driving and racing in connection to the crash. Carter was sentenced to 12 months’ probation and fined $1,000 while having to serve 50 hours of community service.

According to WSBTV.com, the Willock estate seeks $30 million in damages from the other defendants and $10 million from Jalen Carter himself.

Jalen Carter’s past and the Philadelphia Eagles

jalen carter lawsuit
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

In addition to Carter being charged during the NFL Scouting Combine, he showed up out of shape for Georgia’s Pro Day a short while later. This led to speculation that the defensive tackle might drop down the draft board once the annual event came calling in late April.

However, the defending NFC champion Eagles had been linked to him throughout the entire pre-draft process. Once they made the move to acquire Carter, general manager Howie Roseman talked about both Carter’s talent and the need to help him grow as a person.

“I think everyone will tell you this is one of the most talented players in the draft. This is one of the most talented players to come out of college football in a long time,” Roseman told reporters about the decision to draft Jalen Carter. “Obviously, that’s part of what we’re talking about. We’ve got to develop the people. We’ve got to develop the player.”

Philadelphia believes that it has the built-in environment to help Carter grow. That includes multiple veterans on the defensive line who can take him under their wing. That’s no truer than when it comes to franchise legend Fletcher Cox.

Almost immediately after being selected, Carter became the initial first-round pick in the 2023 Draft class to sign his rookie contract. It came in at $21.8 million fully guaranteed over four years with a $12.8 million signing bonus.

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