Chris Smith, a former NFL defensive end, passed away at the age of 31, according to his former agent, Drew Rosenhaus. Smith’s cause of death has not been disclosed.
He played for several teams in his eight-season NFL career, which included the Jacksonville Jaguars, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Las Vegas Raiders, and Houston Texans. Smith played in 72 NFL games, earning 80 tackles and 11 sacks during that time.
Chris Smith high school, West Rowan Football, also paid tribute to the former player, describing him as a better person than a player and his impact on those around him would be remembered forever.
The XFL, in which Smith played for the Seattle Sea Dragons, also released a statement on his passing, describing him as a powerful presence in the locker room and loved by his teammates and coaches.
Several of Chris Smith former teammates also shared tributes to him on social media. Browns tight end David Njoku described Smith as a hometown hero and a kind soul, while former Raiders quarterback Derek Carr wrote, “Love you bro” alongside a picture of him and Smith celebrating.
Former Jacksonville Jaguars defensive tackle Roy Miller III shared a touching message of pride in Smith’s achievements and how he always found a way to make any situation positive.
Chris Smith passing is a sad loss for the NFL community, and his impact will be remembered by his former teammates, coaches, and fans alike.