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Former Raiders fullback Steve Smith, 57, dies of Lou Gehrig’s Disease 20 years after diagnosis

Former Raiders fullback Steve Smith, 57, dies of Lou Gehrig’s Disease after being diagnosed 20 years ago

  • Former Raiders fullback Steve Smith, 57, died today 20 years after he was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease
  • Smith was drafted by the Raiders in 1987 after starring in college at Penn State, where he helped the Nittany Lions win their last national championship
  • He ran 1,528 yards, made seven touchdowns and served as the lead blocker for players Bo Jackson and Marcus Allen during his NFL career
  •  He played his two final seasons in the league with the Seattle Seahawks before retiring after the 1995 season
  • ‘It brought tears to my eyes to see this guy who I knew was such a huge guy and to see him in the position that he was in,’ said former teammate Willie Gault
  •  ‘He’s the toughest fullback I’ve ever seen,’ said former Raiders running back Marcus Allen


The Las Vegas Raiders announced on Saturday that former fullback Steve Smith (pictured in `1991) passed away at 57, two decades after he was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease

The Las Vegas Raiders announced on Saturday that former fullback Steve Smith passed away at 57, two decades after he was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease. 

His former teammates called him the ‘toughest fullback [they had] even seen.’

‘Never have I seen a fullback as tough as Steve Smith,’ said former teammate and running back Napoleon McCallum, who Smith helped as a lead blocker. 

‘Just go all out trying to knock somebody down, just went in there with reckless abandon for his body and gave his all for the team.’

Smith was drafted in the third round by the Raiders in 1987 after he helped his college team, the Penn State Nittany Lions, win their last national championship in 1986. 

 

Former Raiders full back Steve Smith is pictured here with his wife Chie (right), his daughter Jazmin (center) and his son Dante (left)

Former Raiders full back Steve Smith is pictured here with his wife Chie (right), his daughter Jazmin (center) and his son Dante (left)

Smith's former teammates called him the 'toughest fullback [they had] even seen.' He is pictured here in October of 1992 in a game against the New York Giants

Smith’s former teammates called him the ‘toughest fullback [they had] even seen.’ He is pictured here in October of 1992 in a game against the New York Giants

'I loved playing with him because he sacrificed himself,' former running back Marcus Allen said in a tribute video posted to Twitter by the Raiders. 'I don't care what anybody says, fullback is the toughest position in football'

‘I loved playing with him because he sacrificed himself,’ former running back Marcus Allen said in a tribute video posted to Twitter by the Raiders. ‘I don’t care what anybody says, fullback is the toughest position in football’

He went on to play for the Raiders for seven seasons, and served as the lead blocker for Bo Jackson and Marcus Allen. He racked up 1,528 yards and seven touchdowns throughout his time in the NFL.

‘I loved playing with him because he sacrificed himself,’ Allen said in a tribute video posted to Twitter by the Raiders. ‘I don’t care what anybody says, fullback is the toughest position in football.’

Smith was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease nearly two decades ago, and hadn’t been able to walk or talk in years. 

However, his teammates remembered him as a ‘hero on the field.’

Smith, pictured with his wife Chie, was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease nearly two decades ago, and hadn't been able to walk or talk in years. However, his teammates remembered him as a 'hero on the field'

Smith, pictured with his wife Chie, was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease nearly two decades ago, and hadn’t been able to walk or talk in years. However, his teammates remembered him as a ‘hero on the field’

Smith is survived by his wife Chie, their children Dante and Jazmin, and their grandson, 'Little Steve'

Smith is survived by his wife Chie, their children Dante and Jazmin, and their grandson, ‘Little Steve’

‘This guy is quite simply one of the toughest guys i’ve ever seen in my life,’ said former Raiders wide receiver Tim Brown. 

‘He had this permanent knot [in the middle of] his forehead… because that’s what he’s going to do – he’s going to put that knot right in the middle of somebody’s chest.’

Even after he fell ill, Smith’s teammates said he was ‘smiling every day while always working for a cure for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, otherwise known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.   

Smith played his last two seasons with the Seattle Seahawks before he retired after the 1995 season.   

Smith is survived by his wife Chie, who nursed him through his long-standing illness, their children Dante and Jazmin, and their grandson, ‘Little Steve.  

Steve Smith is pictured second from left in an undated picture posted by Chie Smith on Twitter

Steve Smith is pictured second from left in an undated picture posted by Chie Smith on Twitter

Even after he fell ill, Smith's team mates said he was 'smiling every day while always working for a cure for' amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

Even after he fell ill, Smith’s team mates said he was ‘smiling every day while always working for a cure for’ amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

Chie Smith (pictured), wife of former Penn State and Oakland Raider star Steve Smith, stands in their family room at their home in Richardson, Texas, in 2006, holding an undated photograph of Steve Smith

Chie Smith (pictured), wife of former Penn State and Oakland Raider star Steve Smith, stands in their family room at their home in Richardson, Texas, in 2006, holding an undated photograph of Steve Smith

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