Jerry Smith (American football)

Gerald Sanford Smith (July 19, 1943 – October 15, 1986) was a professional American football tight end for the National Football League's Washington Redskins from 1965–1977. By the time he retired he held the NFL record for most career touchdowns by a tight end.[2] A 2014 documentary from the NFL Network's A Football Life series profiles his career, as well as his "double life as a closeted gay man and a star athlete".[2]

Jerry Smith
No. 87
Position:Tight end
Personal information
Born:July 19, 1943
Eugene, Oregon
Died:October 15, 1986 (aged 43)
Silver Spring, Maryland
Career information
High school:San Lorenzo (CA)
College:Arizona State
NFL Draft:1965 / Round: 9 / Pick: 118
AFL draft:1965 / Round: 18 / Pick: 141
(by the Kansas City Chiefs)[1]
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Receiving yards:5,496
Player stats at

Professional career

Playing for Otto Graham's, Vince Lombardi's and George Allen's Redskins, Smith had a stellar career. He played in the 1973 Super Bowl VII, and Sports Illustrated called him "an outstanding receiver among tight ends, with the ability to break open for a long gain". In his career Smith caught 421 passes, including 60 touchdowns, a record for tight ends at the time. He was named All-Pro twice and held several NFL records that stood for years. In 2011, the Professional Football Researchers Association named Smith to the PRFA Hall of Very Good Class of 2011 [3]

In 1971, as a part of a USO tour in association with the National Football League, Smith, along with other stars John Brown, Butch Byrd, Fred Hoaglin, George Kunz, and Tom Woodeshick, visited and signed autographs for wounded military personnel in Vietnam.


Smith died of AIDS on October 15, 1986. He was the first former professional athlete to die of the disease.[2] Although he acknowledged that he had AIDS, he never publicly acknowledged he was gay.[2] Head coach Vince Lombardi, who had a gay brother, demanded a homophobia-free locker room but "not even the legendary Lombardi could insulate him from the crippling societal homophobia of the era".[2] Smith's sexuality was confirmed after his death by former teammate pro NFL football player David Kopay, who had come out of the closet years earlier.[2] The Redskins logo, along with Jerry Smith's uniform number 87, was part of the AIDS quilt.

See also


  1. ^ "1965 AFL Draft". Archived from the original on February 25, 2017. Retrieved March 23, 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d e f NFL Documentary Profiles Closeted Gay Player
  3. ^ "Hall of Very Good Class of 2011". Retrieved November 23, 2016.




was a common year starting on Wednesday of the Gregorian calendar, the 1986th year of the Common Era (CE) and Anno Domini (AD) designations, the 986th year of the 2nd millennium, the 86th year of the 20th century, and the 7th year of the 1980s decade.

The year 1986 was designated as the International Year of Peace by the United Nations.

Jerry Smith

Jerry Smith may refer to:

Jerry Edwin Smith (born 1946), American federal appellate judge

Jerry Smith (American football) (1943–1986), American football tight end

Jerry Smith (American football coach) (1930–2011), American football coach

Jerry Smith (basketball, born 1941), American basketball player who played collegiately at Furman

Jerry Smith (basketball, born 1987), American basketball player

Jerry Smith (motorcyclist) (born 1927), Motorcycle Hall of Fame, wrote Into the Heart of Africa

Jerry L. Smith (1943–2015), American lawyer and politician

Jerry Smith (golfer) (born 1964), American professional golfer

Jerry Smith (martial artist), former professional full-contact fighting coach

Jerry Smith (soccer coach) (born 1960), American soccer coach

Jerry Smith, a fictional character in the American animated series Rick and Morty

Jerry Smith (singer), brazilian singer, he rose to prominence as a member of the duo MCs Zaac & Jerry Smith.

Jerry Smith (American football coach)

Jerome Anthony Smith (September 9, 1930 – August 6, 2011) was an American football player and coach. Jerry was born in Dayton, Ohio and attended Chaminade High School, graduating in 1948. At Chaminade he played tight end and later in 1982 was elected to the school's Athletic Hall of Fame.After Smith's college football career, which he spent at Wisconsin, the San Francisco 49ers of the National Football League (NFL) selected Smith in the 1952 NFL Draft. He played at left guard for the team in 1952 and 1953. In 1956, he split time between the 49ers and Green Bay Packers. Smith played in 29 games during his NFL career.Beginning in 1960, he joined the Boston Patriots as a coach of the team's defensive linemen and linebackers. Two years later, he took a similar role with the Buffalo Bills; in his six years as a Bills coach, the team won two American Football League championships. In 1968, the Cleveland Browns hired Smith as an assistant personnel director. From 1969 to 1970, Smith coached in the New Orleans Saints organization. The following year, he became the Denver Broncos' offensive line coach. On November 17, 1971, Broncos head coach Lou Saban, who had also been Smith's boss in Boston and Buffalo, resigned and Smith was named his replacement for the season's last five games. The Broncos posted a 2–3 record under Smith. Following the 1971 season, he became the Houston Oilers' defensive line coach for 1972; after one season, he returned to the Browns and served multiple roles. He coached the San Diego Chargers' defensive line from 1977 through 1983. He received credit for developing the front four of Fred Dean, Leroy Jones, Louie Kelcher, and Gary "Big Hands" Johnson. Known as the Bruise Brothers, the group helped the Chargers lead the NFL in 1980 with 60 sacks. Dean, Kelcher, and Johnson all started in the 1981 Pro Bowl.

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