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Arkansas Razorbacks vs Louisville Cardinals
Arkansas Razorbacks Julysses Nobles (R) looks for a teammate to pass to as Louisville Cardinals Jerry Smith falls over him during the first half of the Basketball Hall of Fame Classic at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis on November 17, 2009. UPI/Bill Greenblatt
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Gerald "Jerry" 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.

Playing for Otto Graham 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.

Smith died of AIDS on October 15, 1986. He was the first former professional athlete to die of the disease. Although he acknowledged that he had AIDS, he never publicly acknowledged his homosexual activities. Smith's sexuality was confirmed after his death by a former teammate, pro NFL football player David Kopay, who had come out of the closet years earlier.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.
It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Jerry Smith."
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