Smith's passing comes eight days after he played in an XFL game for the Seattle Sea Dragons. Not only was the defensive end on the field for Seattle's 34-33 loss on April 9 to the D.C. Defenders, but he had two tackles in the game. Smith had been in the XFL since signing with the Sea Dragons on March 9.
Before joining the XFL, Smith put together a solid eight-year career in the NFL. His rookie season came in 2014 when the Jaguars made him a fifth-round pick out of Arkansas. During his first year with the Jags, Smith was able to rack up three sacks even though he only played in seven games.
After three years in Jacksonville, Smith moved on to Cincinnati in 2017, where he arguably had the best season of his career. During his one year with the Bengals, Smith tied his career-high with three sacks while also tallying a career-high 26 tackles. Over the course of his career, Smith also spent time with the Browns (2018-19), Raiders (2020) and Texans (2021). Overall, he appeared in 72 games over eight seasons.
Rest in paradise Chris Smith. Hometown hero and a brother to everyone. Such a kind soul. This is Heartbreaking— Chief David Njoku (@David_Njoku80) April 18, 2023
The Browns also released a statement following Smith's passing.
"We are deeply saddened by the passing of former Browns DE Chris Smith," the team said in a statement. "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."
Smith's death follows the tragic death of his girlfriend, Petara Cordero, in September 2019. While Smith was playing for the Browns, Cordero was hit by a car after Smith had pulled over on the side of the road to deal with a tire malfunction. At the time of Cordero's death, the couple had just welcomed a baby into the world four weeks earlier.