Neil Smith (born April 10, 1966 in New Orleans, Louisiana) is a former American football defensive end in the National Football League. He played for the Kansas City Chiefs from 1988 to 1996, the Denver Broncos from 1997 to 1999, and the San Diego Chargers in 2000. Before his NFL career, he played for the University of Nebraska where he was All-American in 1987.
The Chiefs, who had the third pick, made it known to everyone before the 1988 NFL Draft that they intended to take Smith. The Detroit Lions, picking second, threatened to pick Smith and the Chiefs were forced to move up one slot to make sure that Smith would be their pick. Incidentally, one of the draft picks the Chiefs surrendered in order to move up turned out to be star linebacker Chris Spielman. Smith's pre-draft measurables were head-turning. He was 6'4" and weight 260 pounds and had a 7-foot-1 1/2-inch arm span. and ran a 4.55 for-yard dash.
One of the top defensive linemen of his era, Smith made the Pro Bowl 6 times during his career (1991 to 1995 and 1997), and led the NFL with 15 sacks in the 1993 season. With the Broncos, Smith won 2 NFL championship rings for Super Bowl XXXII and Super Bowl XXXIII. In the 1998 Divisional Playoffs against the Miami Dolphins, Smith cemented the 38-3 Broncos victory with a 79-yard fumble return for a touchdown, and in Super Bowl XXXII, he recorded a key fumble recovery that set up a Broncos field goal.