Neil Smith (American football)

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Neil Smith
Neil Smith Broncos.jpg
No. 90, 91
Position: Defensive end
Personal information
Born: (1966-04-10) April 10, 1966 (age 54)
New Orleans, Louisiana
Height:6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)
Weight:270 lb (122 kg)
Career information
High school: McDonogh 35
(New Orleans, Louisiana)
College: Nebraska
NFL Draft: 1988  / Round: 1 / Pick: 2
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Tackles:582
Sacks:104.5
Interceptions:4
Player stats at NFL.com

Neil Smith (born April 10, 1966) is an American former professional football player who was a defensive end in the National Football League (NFL). He played for the Kansas City Chiefs from 1988 to 1996, the Denver Broncos from 1997 to 1999, and the San Diego Chargers in 2000. Before his NFL career, he played college football for the Nebraska Cornhuskers, where he was an All-American in 1987. He also co-owned an Arena Football team, the Kansas City Command.

Contents

Early years

Born in New Orleans, Smith graduated from McDonogh No. 35 Senior High School in the city. [1]

Professional career

The Chiefs, who had the third pick, made it known to everyone before the 1988 NFL Draft that they intended to take Smith. The Detroit Lions, picking second, threatened to pick Smith and the Chiefs were forced to move up one slot to make sure that Smith would be their pick. Incidentally, one of the draft picks the Chiefs surrendered in order to move up turned out to be star linebacker Chris Spielman. Smith's pre-draft measurables were head-turning. He was 6'4½", weighed 260 pounds, had a 7-foot-1½-inch arm span, [2] and ran a 4.55 forty-yard dash. [3]

NFL career statistics

GeneralInterceptionsFumblesTackles
YearTeamGPIntYdsTDFFFRYdsTDSacksComb
1988 KC 1300100002.553
1989 KC 1500012316.567
1990 KC 1600041009.568
1991 KC 16000321008.065
1992 KC 161221220014.577
1993 KC 16130430015.055
1994 KC 141410516011.542
1995 KC 16000410012.042
1996 KC 1600010006.034
1997 DEN 1400010008.529
1998 DEN 1412010004.020
1999 DEN 1500000006.525
2000 SD 1000000000.05
Career19146823012191104.5582

Legacy

One of the top defensive linemen of his era, Smith made the Pro Bowl 6 times during his career (1991–1995 and 1997), and led the NFL with 15 sacks in the 1993 season. With the Broncos, Smith won 2 NFL championship rings for Super Bowl XXXII and Super Bowl XXXIII. In the 1998 Divisional Playoffs against the Miami Dolphins, Smith cemented the 38-3 Broncos victory with a 79-yard fumble return for a touchdown, and in Super Bowl XXXII, he recorded a key fumble recovery that set up a Broncos field goal.

Smith finished his 13 NFL seasons with 105 sacks, 30 forced fumbles, 12 fumble recoveries, 19 return yards, and 1 touchdown. He also intercepted 4 passes, returning them for 68 yards and a touchdown. He is the former co-owner of the Kansas City Brigade of the Arena Football League.

On October 22, 2006, Smith was inducted to the Chiefs's Hall of Fame.

Notes

Smith's trademark sack celebration, which consisted of him pantomiming swinging a baseball bat, was invented in tribute to another Kansas City sports hero, Hall Of Famer George Brett. [4]

There was a rule created in his name. The "Neil Smith" rule, enacted in 1998, prevents a defensive lineman from flinching to induce a false start penalty on the offense.

Neil Smith was a Co-Owner of the Kansas City Brigade, a team in the Arena Football League from 2006 until 2008.

Smith appeared as a panelist on the Nickelodeon game show Figure it Out .

The Kansas City Command retired #90 in his honor.

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References

  1. https://web.archive.org/web/20001029084628/http://sports.nfl.com/2000/playerhighlights?id=2880
  2. NYT online New York Times, April 24, 1988.
  3. "Brown proves his speed to those who doubted", Atlanta Journal-Constitution February 7, 1988.
  4. "Best NFL Player by Jersey Number: 50-99". Sports Illustrated . Retrieved October 4, 2010.