ORCHARD PARK, NY – The Buffalo Bills announced today that the team will retire defensive end Bruce Smith’s No. 78 jersey when the Bills host the New York Jets in primetime on Thursday Night Football for the team’s Week Two home opener on September 15.
Smith’s No. 78 jersey will join Jim Kelly’s No. 12, which was retired in 2001, as the only jersey numbers to be retired in franchise history.
Bills Managing Partner and President Russ Brandon said, “We are announcing today that we will be honoring Bruce Smith, one of the greatest players in Bills history, during the Thursday night home opener in a special halftime ceremony in which we will retire his jersey number. On behalf of Terry and Kim Pegula and the entire Bills organization, we feel this is a tremendous opportunity to honor Bruce and his Hall of Fame career. We believe it’s going to be a great night for Bruce, his family and Bills fans everywhere.”
The NFL’s all-time sack leader with 200 career sacks, Smith was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2009 after an illustrious 19-year career—15 of which were spent with the Bills. Smith holds a multitude of different Bills records, including the team’s most career sacks (171.0) and sacks in a season (19.0 in 1990). In addition to being selected to a team-record 11 Pro Bowls, Smith’s dominance on the field culminated with his role in helping lead the Bills to four consecutive Super Bowls and being named the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year in 1990 and 1996.
Smith originally became the seventh Bill to ever wear the No. 78 when he was selected by the Buffalo Bills with the number one overall pick of the 1985 NFL Draft after his collegiate career at Virginia Tech. Since Smith’s departure from Buffalo in 1999, no Bill has worn the No. 78.
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