The impact Will Smith made in the world of football and beyond was obvious. After news of his murder became public, people took to Twitter and expressed their emotions about the sudden loss.

One of those players was his longtime teammate, Drew Brees:

But Brees’ feelings on the former Buckeye’s death were not limited to 140 characters. He had plenty more to say about the man he played alongside in New Orleans from 2006-13.

Smith’s murder, which occurred as the result of a road-rage incident following a three-car accident, spoke to a matter that Brees shared concerns about before.

Here’s what Brees told Peter King of Sports Illustrated’s Monday Morning Quarterback:

“The problem,” said Brees, Smith’s teammate for seven seasons, “is New Orleans perennially is way up in these homicides statistically. We become desensitized to it. And so many people die, but we pay attention when it’s Will Smith; that forces so many people who wouldn’t normally deal with it to deal with the reality of a terrible thing, the gun violence in the city.

“People are going to make arguments now about gun control. And it just seems to me … This is about the way … the way human beings treat other human beings …”

His voice trailed off for a moment.

“Think about it. A guy [accused shooter Cardell Hayes] thought, whatever, that he was cut off. Just a simple thing, driving a car. And he reacts to someone he thinks did that. And lives are ruined. One guy is going to spend the rest of his life in jail. One guy is dead. One family loses its leader, its father, its husband, forever.”

It was reported that Smith’s assassin, Cardell Hayes, shot him in the back and in the right torso after the argument. It isn’t known if Smith was walking back to his car or how exactly the events transpired.

All that’s known by New Orleans Police is that a beloved, high-profile man was shot and killed after an apparent fender-bender. That, as Brees said, is the toughest thing to grasp with.

The former B1G stars were both All-Americans as seniors, and both helped their teams earn a share of the B1G Championship. Brees and Smith were captains and they won a Super Bowl together in 2010. Brees called Smith “the cornerstone” of the Saints after Sean Payton took over.

It’s safe to say that even though Smith is gone — tragically — he won’t be forgotten.