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This Birthday in Buffalo Sports History: Bruce Smith

     (Born June 18, 1963) -- When Bruce Smith was in high school in Norfolk, Va., it's said that he was a pretty fair basketball player. Let's see -- 6-foot-4, slowly filling out a frame that reached 265 pounds later in life, amazingly quick for his size. Who could stop him then?

     However, he made the right career choice by playing football. No one could stop him at any point of his career, as he was one of the greatest defensive ends in history.

     Smith won the Outland Trophy as the nation's best defensive lineman at Virginia Tech, and was an All-American. The Bills took him first overall in the draft in 1985.

     Buffalo had made some bad decisions in the draft in that era, but this was a good one. He had 15 sacks in 1986, his second year in the NFL. By 1989, Smith was the Bills' all-time leader in sacks. He eventually was a huge part of the Bills' teams that made four straight Super Bowls.

     Smith stayed in Buffalo through 1999, jumping to Washington as a free agent. He finished his career with 200 sacks, and was an obvious selection for the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2009.

--- Budd Bailey

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Basketball | History
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About Sports, Ink

Budd Bailey

Budd Bailey

Budd Bailey has served in a variety of roles in Buffalo sports in the past 35 years, including reporter, talk-show host, baseball announcer, public relations staffer and author. He covers the Bandits and running for The News when not working as an editor.

@WDX2BB | bbailey@buffnews.com

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