Ohio State, New Orleans Saints Great Will Smith Shot to Death in New Orleans

By 11W Staff on April 10, 2016 at 2:35 am
Buckeye great Will Smith was shot to death in New Orleans Saturday night
Icon Sports Media

According to the Times-Picayune, former Ohio State and New Orleans Saints great Will Smith was shot to death at 11:29 p.m. Saturday in New Orleans' Lower Garden District, following a fender-bender.

Smith was 34.

The New Orleans Police Department released the following statement on the shooting, indicating the shooter was in custody, along with the murder weapon:

The 34-year-old male victim's vehicle was traveling eastbound on Sophie Wright Place when his vehicle was hit in the rear by a Hummer H2. The collision caused the victim's Mercedes G63 SUV to strike the rear of a Chevrolet Impala who was traveling along with the victim. The male victim and the driver of the Hummer exchanged words at which time the driver of the Hummer produced a handgun and shot the male victim multiple times and his 34-year-old wife twice in the right leg. The male victim was pronounced dead on the scene. The female victim was transported to a local hospital. The 30-year-old driver of the Hummer is in custody and being interviewed by police. The gun used has been recovered.

Per the NOPD statement, Smith's wife, Racquel, is at a local hospital. He is survived by three children.

CENTURION360, a PR, crisis management and marketing firm for professional athletes, released a statement on behalf of Smith's family Sunday morning.

On behalf of the Smith family, we are thankful for the outpouring of support and prayers. We ask that you continue to support the family's privacy as they grieve the loss of a devoted husband, father and friend.

Smith was a three-year starter at defensive end and captain for Ohio State, recording 46.5 tackles for loss to go along with 23 sacks. He was at his best when it mattered most, forcing two early TFLs against the Miami Hurricanes to set the tone in the Buckeyes' dramatic 31–24 double-overtime victory in the 2003 Fiesta Bowl. His eight tackles in that game were a team-high as Ohio State clinched its first national championship in a generation.

The Saints selected Smith with the 18th pick in the first round of the 2004 NFL Draft and he played his entire career in the Crescent City, earning a trip to the Pro Bowl in 2006 and a Super Bowl ring with the Saints' following their 31–17 upset of the Indianapolis Colts in Super Bowl XLIV in 2010.

Linebacker Jonathan Vilma, whom Smith topped in that Fiesta Bowl while Vilma was playing for Miami, but later teamed up with Smith to help win a Super Bowl, captures the mood of many of us, we're sure:

Saints head coach Sean Payton and team spokesman Greg Bensel reacted on Twitter:

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