CLEVELAND (AP) — Former NFL defensive end and former West Rowan High football player Chris Smith, who was touched by tragedy while he played for the Cleveland Browns, has died. He was 31.
Smith’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, and the Browns confirmed his passing on Tuesday. The cause of death was not immediately known.
“Rest in Peace Chris,” Rosenhaus wrote on Twitter. “Condolences to all his family, friends and loved ones. We will miss you.”
Smith played for the XFL’s Seattle Sea Dragons this season. He previously spent eight seasons in the NFL with Jacksonville, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Las Vegas and Houston.
While Smith was with the Browns in 2019, his girlfriend, Petara Cordero, was killed when she was hit by a car after she exited the vehicle he was driving. Cordero was standing on the road’s shoulder when the vehicle driven by a 47-year-old woman smashed into the passenger side of Smith’s car.
“Chris was one of the kindest players and people that I’ve ever met,” Browns All-Pro defensive end Myles Garrett said. “He was willing to give you the shirt off his back for you. It’s hard just knowing people like that can go at any time.”
Smith and Cordero had a daughter shortly before Cordero’s death.
After playing at Arkansas, Smith was drafted by the Jaguars in the fifth round in 2014. He finished with 11 career sacks in 72 games.
Smith was a native of Salisbury, North Carolina.