Former NFL Player Dead at 31

Chris Smith played 8 seasons with the NFL, had moved over to XFL
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 19, 2023 12:20 AM CDT
Former NFL Player Dead at 31
FILE - Cleveland Browns defensive end Chris Smith sits on the sideline during the first half of an NFL preseason football game against the Washington Redskins in Cleveland, Aug. 8, 2019.   (AP Photo/Ron Schwane, File)

Chris Smith, who played in the NFL as a defensive end for eight seasons, has died at age 31. Smith had signed with the Seattle Sea Dragons, which is part of the professional minor league XFL, in March and had played five games so far, NBC News reports. "Chris was a powerful presence in the locker room," the XFL says in a statement. "Loved and admired by his teammates and the coaching staff. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his entire family at this difficult time." It's not clear when Smith died, and his cause of death has not been revealed.

Others have joined in the tributes, ESPN reports. "We are deeply saddened by the passing of former Browns DE Chris Smith," the Browns said in a statement. "Chris was one of the kindest people, teammates and friends we've had in our organization. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family during this difficult time." Smith had also played for the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Cincinnati Bengals, the Las Vegas Raiders, and the Houston Texans, and all who posted tributes recalled how kind he was. "Chris was a better person than he was player!" says his North Carolina high school in a statement. Tragically, Petara Cordero, with whom he shared a daughter, was killed in front of Smith in 2019. (More NFL stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.