Former Jacksonville Jaguars player Chris Smith dies suddenly at 31

Smith played 3 seasons for Jacksonville after he was drafted in 2014

Jacksonville Jaguars defensive end Chris Smith looks up at the video monitor during the first half of an NFL football game against the Miami Dolphins in Jacksonville, Fla., Sunday, Oct. 26, 2014. (AP Photo/Gary McCullough) (Gary McCullough, Associated Press)

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.”

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.

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Digital reporter who has lived in Jacksonville for more than 25 years and focuses on important local issues like education and the environment.