JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Former Jacksonville Jaguars defensive end Chris Smith has died, according to multiple media reports and his agent. He was 31.
It was not immediately clear how or when Smith died.
The Jaguars selected Smith in the fifth round of the 2014 draft out of the University of Arkansas and he went on to play eight seasons in the NFL with multiple teams including the Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Las Vegas Raiders and the Houston Texans.
At the time of his death, he was a member of the XFL’s Seattle Sea Dragons.
The Browns tweeted about his death Tuesday morning and said he was “one of the kindest people, teammates and friends we’ve had in our organization.”
Former teammate and Browns tight end David Njoku tweeted, “Hometown hero and a brother to everyone. Such a kind soul. This is Heartbreaking.”
We are deeply saddened by the passing of former Browns DE Chris Smith.— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) April 18, 2023
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. pic.twitter.com/K8HySW4erM
According to ESPN, Smith’s girlfriend was struck and killed by a driver in a traffic accident during the 2019 season. She was a passenger in Smith’s car and exited the vehicle after it had a tire malfunction and hit the median. The two had just had a daughter together.
Tony Khan, a Jaguars executive, issued a statement on Twitter saying he hopes the two are now in heaven together.
“He was a great teammate and friend,” Khan wrote.
Rest In Peace, Chris Smith.— Tony Khan (@TonyKhan) April 18, 2023
Chris came to the Jaguars in 2014 and spent 3 years here. He was a great teammate and friend.
He suffered a tragic loss in 2019 when Petara, his girlfriend + mother of his child passed away in a vehicular accident.
I hope they're reunited in Heaven