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Bruce Smith
Smith-Bruce-2.jpg
bruce Smith playing for the NFL's Buffalo Bills
No. 78
Defensive end
Personal information
Date of birth: June 18 1963 (1963-06-18) (age 56)
Place of birth: Norfolk, Virginia
Height: 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)Weight: 280 lb (127 kg)
Career information
College: Virginia Tech
NFL Draft: 1985 / Round: 1 / Pick: 1
No regular season or postseason appearances
Career history
Career highlights and awards
NFL record
Career NFL statistics
Tackles 1,225
Sacks 200.0
Forced fumbles 43
Interceptions 2
Touchdowns 1
Stats at NFL.com
Stats at pro-football-reference.com
Pro Football Hall of Fame
College Football Hall of Fame

Bruce Smith (born June 18, 1963) is a former defensive end in the National Football League. He played with the Buffalo Bills and the Washington Redskins.

He was a member of the Buffalo Bills teams that played in four consecutive Super Bowls as AFC champions. The holder of the NFL career record for quarterback sacks with 200, Smith was enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2009, his first year of eligibility.[1] Smith was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2006.

High school and college careersEdit

Smith is a native of Norfolk, Virginia, where he graduated from Booker T. Washington High School. Following an all-state high school career, Smith accepted an athletic scholarship to Virginia Tech. Known as "The Sack Man" at Virginia Tech, Smith finished his college career in 1984 as the most honored player in Hokie history. Foreshadowing his future success in pursuing quarterbacks in the NFL, he had a career total of 71 tackles behind the line of scrimmage, for losses totaling 504 yards. Smith had 46 career sacks, including 22 during a junior season in 1983 that saw him named First-team All-America by the AFCA (Coaches) and Newspaper Enterprise Association. In 1984, Smith capped off his tenure in Blacksburg with the Outland Trophy, given to the nation's top lineman, and a consensus selection to the All-America Team. His accomplishments at Virginia Tech earned him a spot in the Virginia Tech Sports Hall of Fame.

Professional football careerEdit

Buffalo BillsEdit

Following this stellar collegiate career, Smith was drafted by the Buffalo Bills with the first pick of the 1985 NFL Draft. (Concurrently he was also selected by the Baltimore Stars in the 1985 USFL Territorial Draft but spurned the United States Football League advances. After a rookie season in which his poor training habits limited his effectiveness, inspiration from teammate Darryl Talley and finding love with a college counselor whom he eventually married inspired him to improve his game.[2] He quickly became known as a sack specialist, with 15 in 1986 and a personal season-best 19, just three short of the then-NFL record of 22, in 1990. By 1989, Smith, in notching his 52nd sack, had already become the Bills' all-time sack leader, claiming a team record that he was to raise 119 times over the years. Some conjecture that his 171 sacks in Buffalo set a standard that "may be unreachable" for future Bills.[3] Also in 1989, Bruce Smith signed an offer-sheet with the Denver Broncos for $7.5 million over five years, but the Bills matched the offer to retain him.[4] In 1990, his defensive performance helped bring the Bills to Super Bowl XXV, though they eventually lost to the Bill Parcells-led New York Giants. Still, Smith had an impressive performance in the game. He sacked Jeff Hostetler in the end zone in the second quarter, becoming only the fifth player to record a Super Bowl safety. Later, Smith forced New York to turn the ball over on downs by tackling running back Ottis Anderson for a two-yard loss on a fourth down conversion attempt. Only a failed last-second field goal attempt kept the team from its first NFL championship (see Wide Right (Buffalo Bills)).

In 1991, though Smith's knee problems forced him out for most of the season, the Bills once again reached the Super Bowl. In 1992, in much better health, he was again a First-team All-Pro and was voted to the Pro Bowl while recording a team-leading 14 sacks.

By 1996, though the Bills' run of Super Bowl appearances had ended, Smith was still putting up prolific numbers, with 90 tackles and 14 sacks. In 1997, Smith had 65 tackles and 14 sacks and by 1998, although he was getting older he still had a respectable 50 tackles and ten sacks.

Smith, along with Andre Reed and Thurman Thomas, was dumped from the Bills roster in an emergency salary cap measure after the 1999 season.

Washington RedskinsEdit

Smith signed with the Washington Redskins as a free agent. In his first season, he posted 58 tackles and ten sacks, although he was now playing in mostly passing situations. He pressed onward in pursuit of Reggie White's all-time sacks record (198, achieved in 15 seasons), which he passed in Week 14 of the 2003 NFL season by sacking New York Giants quarterback Jesse Palmer in a 20–7 win at Giants Stadium.[5] Smith finished his career with 200 career sacks, the only person ever to reach the 200 sack mark.

Smith had hinted in interviews that 2003 would be his final season, but never completely ruled out continuing to play. However, on February 24, 2004, the Redskins released Smith, saving $6.5 million in salary cap space.[6]

ReferencesEdit

External linksEdit

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