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NCAA Big East baskeball tournament held in New York
Jerry Smith (R) passes the ball as Russel Wooten of Louisville tries to block during the semi-final game of the Big East basketball tournament held at Madison Square Garden on March 13, 2009 in New York City. Louisville went on to win 69 to 55.(UPI Photo/Monika Graff)
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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."