Bubba Smith, NFL star dies at 66

Bubba Smith was found dead at his home in Los Angeles, California, by his caretaker on August 3, 2011. He died at age 66, apparently from natural causes.

Smith was born in Beaumont, Texas. He graduated from Charlton-Pollard High School in Beaumont in 1963.

Smith played college football at Michigan State University. He was awarded with All-America honors in 1965 and 1966. In his senior season, he played in the “Game of the Century” (a 10–10 tie at home against the University of Notre Dame). Michigan State finished 2nd in the voting for the National Championship, behind Notre Dame. In 1988, Smith was enshrined in the College Football Hall of Fame.

Smith was a popular athlete at Michigan State, with the popular fan chant of “Kill, Bubba, Kill.”

Michigan State retired his number 95 jersey on September 23, 2006, prior to the Spartans’ home game against Notre Dame, amid repeated cheers of his old slogan from the student section. This game also celebrated the 40th anniversary of the “Game of the Century.”

Smith spent nine seasons in the NFL as a defensive end. He was the first overall selection in the 1967 NFL draft, chosen by the Baltimore Colts. The Colts won Super Bowl V at the end of the 1970 season, earning Smith his only Super Bowl ring. However, in interviews, Smith stated that he would never wear the ring, as it was seen as a “sloppy” game by many. He was traded to the Oakland Raiders before the 1972 season, and finished his career with the Houston Oilers. He was selected All-Pro one year, All-Conference two years, and went to two Pro Bowls.

After leaving professional football, Smith began his acting career in small movie and television roles in the late 1970s and early 1980s. He is perhaps best known for his role as Moses Hightower in the Police Academy movie series, a role he has reprised in all but one of the Police Academy sequels. He appeared in two episodes of the hit television series Married… with Children, once as the character “Spare Tire” Dixon and in a later episode as himself. He was the long time spokesman of Baltimore-area law firm Cohen, Snyder, Eisenberg & Katzenberg. Smith starred in the short-lived television series Blue Thunder, partnering with Pro Football Hall of Fame defensive star Dick Butkus, with whom he frequently costarred in advertisements for Miller Lite Beer. Smith also appeared in Tales of the Gold Monkey, in the episode called “God Save the Queen”, along with fellow actor James Avery. He appeared on Good Times as Claude, a bodyguard/thug working for Marion “Sweet Daddy” Williams.

Reprinted from Wikipedia at this link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bubba_Smith

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About Jeff Nixon

Jeff was a first team consensus All-American from the University of Richmond in 1978. He is 7th in NCAA history with 23 career interceptions. Played for the Buffalo Bills 1979-1984. Led the team with 6 interceptions in Rookie Year. Holds Bills record for 4 takeaways in a single game - 3 interceptions and a fumble recovery. Tied Bills record with four consecutive games with an interception. After 5 knee surgeries Jeff retired from pro football in 1985. He worked for 13 years (1988-2000) as the Youth Bureau Director for Buffalo and Erie County. He has worked for the past 11 years as the Youth Employment Director for Buffalo. Plays guitar and was voted best R&B guitar player by Buffalo Nightlife Magazine in 2006, 2007 and 2008.

Posted on August 4, 2011, in NFL Alumni News. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Rest in peace big man. You were a tough, respected opponent.

  2. Bubba was both a Great College and NFL Player. I wish his family the Best and We will keep them in our Prayers.

  3. I played with Bubba in Baltimore and Houston. If the chain gang does not tear his knee up, he would be in HOF. My prayers go out to his family. He was a gentle giant.

  4. Bub was a gentle giant. So quick off the ball. At times he was in the backfield before the O. Tackle came out of his stance. I agree with Carl Mauck had the chain gang done their job in Tampa that pre season night, I was on the field and saw this tragedy happen, he would have been in the Hall. He was a super teammate! May the grace of God comfort his family at this time.

    Rex Kern

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