Former Teammates Mourn After NFL Veteran Dies at Age 31
Former NFL defensive end Chris Smith died Monday at the age of 31, according to the Salisbury Post of North Carolina.
No cause of death was announced.
A native of Mount Ulla, North Carolina, Smith played four years at the University of Arkansas.
R.I.P. to an Arkansas great, Chris Smith.
He was only 31 years old. pic.twitter.com/AczhdSIVSr
— HAWGTOWN SPORTS (@hawgtownsports) April 18, 2023
He was drafted by the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2014 and went on to play in 72 games during an eight-year NFL career.
In addition to the Jaguars, Smith played for the Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Las Vegas Raiders and Houston Texans.
He also spent time with the Carolina Panthers and Baltimore Ravens but didn’t get on the field for either team.
Smith’s final NFL season came in 2021. However, he had returned to pro football this year with the rebooted XFL, playing five games for the Seattle Sea Dragons.
His death came one day after Seattle’s 30-12 road victory over the St. Louis Battlehawks. It’s unknown if Smith played in the game, but he didn’t register any tackles.
Smith’s former teammates mourned his death.
“Hometown hero and a brother to everyone. Such a kind soul,” Cleveland Browns tight end David Njoku tweeted. “This is heartbreaking.”
Rest in paradise Chris Smith. Hometown hero and a brother to everyone. Such a kind soul. This is Heartbreaking
— Chief David Njoku (@David_Njoku80) April 18, 2023
My brother I was just thinking how proud I was of you chasing your dreams in the XFL you made a whole room laugh when you laughed you always found a way to make any situation positive RIH Smitty pic.twitter.com/cLuYbnr4rP
— Roy Miller III (@Roy_Miller_III) April 18, 2023
Chris Smith only played eight games for the Raiders (2020) but made an impression. Great dude who overcome adversity and had a very positive spirit. He was 31. RIP. https://t.co/5WrTxAjh1N
— Vic Tafur (@VicTafur) April 18, 2023
The Salisbury Post’s report on his death called it “a tragic loss for his family, friends, former teammates and for Rowan County. He had been the ultimate give-back guy and had been a generous donor to local schools and projects.”
Smith had been a star at West Rowan High School.
“The impact he had on those around him will be remembered forever,” the school posted in announcing his death.
Rest in Peace to a West Rowan Legend! Chris was a better person than he was player! The impact he had on those around him will be remembered forever! pic.twitter.com/9oVKyM4Gs2
— West Rowan Football (@WRowan_Football) April 18, 2023
One of my all-time favorite plays was Chris Smith and Deatrich Wise Jr. teaming up for the sack on Johnny Manziel in 2013 and how loud the crowd got.😔 pic.twitter.com/jbeFleLYDX
— Hog Flashbacks (@HogFlashbacks) April 18, 2023
Tragedy had marred Smith’s life when he was with the Browns in 2019. Petara Cordero, his girlfriend and the mother of one of his children, was killed in an accident when she was struck by a passing vehicle after getting out of his car when it suffered a breakdown, according to the New York Post.
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