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Former NFL player Chris Smith dies at 31

Smith, who went to the University of Arkansas and was drafted in 2014, played for five teams during an eight-year career in the NFL.
Chris Smith
Chris Smith walks off of the field after a game between the Cleveland Browns and the Detroit Lions on August 30, 2018, in Detroit. Scott W. Grau / Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
/ Source: TODAY

Chris Smith, a former defensive lineman who played with multiple teams during an eight-year NFL career, has died at the age of 31, his representatives said.

It was unclear how he died. Representatives for Smith confirmed his death to NBC News and said no further details will be provided at this time.

“Rest in Peace Chris. Condolences to all his family, friends and loved ones. We will miss you,” Smith’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, tweeted April 18.

Smith was from Salisbury, North Carolina, and was a star athlete at West Rowan High School, which mourned his death in a social media post on Monday.

“Rest in Peace to a West Rowan Legend! Chris was a better person than he was player!” the school's football account tweeted. “The impact he had on those around him will be remembered forever!”

Smith played college football at the University of Arkansas and was selected in the fifth round of the 2014 NFL Draft by the Jacksonville Jaguars.

He played three seasons there before moving on to play for the Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Las Vegas Raiders and Houston Texans. He appeared in 72 games over the course of his time in the NFL.

Smith last played in the NFL in 2021 and had signed with the XFL’s Seattle Sea Dragons in March.

In September 2019, Smith was driving in a car with his girlfriend, Petara Cordero, when he hit a median. Cordero got out of the vehicle and was struck and killed by another vehicle, police said at the time. She had given birth to the couple’s daughter the previous month.

Smith’s death was mourned by players from across the NFL community.

“Love you bro,” tweeted former Raiders quarterback Derek Carr, alongside a photo of the two of them in uniform.

“Rest in paradise Chris Smith. Hometown hero and a brother to everyone. Such a kind soul. This is Heartbreaking,” former Browns teammate David Njoku tweeted.

“Man prayers up for Chris smith family. This one hurts,” Buffalo Bills defensive end Shaq Lawson tweeted.