Bruce Bernard Smith (June 18, 1963-) (DE) was a menacing defensive end for nearly two decades in the National Football League with ten or more quarterback sacks in 13 of his 19 years in the league. Smith’s combination of power, strength, speed and agility twice earned him All-American honors at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and the Outland Trophy as the best United States college football interior lineman in 1984. The Buffalo Bills selected Bruce with the Number 1 overall pick of the 1985 NFL Draft out of Virginia Tech. The 6’4” 265 lbs. defensive end quickly established himself as a quarterback hunter as he recorded 6.5 sacks in his rookie year and then 15.0 sacks in his sophomore campaign, beginning a string of 13 of 15 years with ten or more. He was named the AFC Defensive Rookie of the Year in 1985. By 1990, Bruce was known as the best pass rusher in the league, and posted a career-high 19.0 sacks and 101 tackles, while earning his first of two NFL AP Defensive Player of the Year awards (1990, 1996).
The Buffalo defense led by Smith, Cornelius Bennett and Darryl Talley helped the Bills reach four consecutive Super Bowl appearances from 1990-1993, but struggled to overcome the offenses of the New York Giants (1990), the Washington Redskins (1991) and the Dallas Cowboys (1992, 1993). Bruce Smith appeared in 11 NFL Pro Bowls, was named the 1987 Pro Bowl MVP and was named to nine NFL All-Pro First Teams. Bruce was also named the PFWA Defensive Player of the Year three times, the NEA Defensive Player of the Year twice and the UPI AFC Defensive Player of the Year four times. He played 19 years with the Bills (1985-1999) and the Washington Redskins (2000-2003) and retired as the all-time quarterback sack leader with 200.0, passing Reggie White’s 198.0 in his final season. Bruce Smith finished his career with 1,225 tackles, two safeties, and 200.0 sacks. He also intercepted two passes with no return yardage and recovered 15 fumbles for 33 return yards and one touchdown. In total, Bruce scored ten points on one TD and two safeties. Bruce Smith was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2006 and the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2009.