Dennis Smith (American football)

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Dennis Smith
No. 49
Position: Safety
Personal information
Date of birth: (1959-02-03) February 3, 1959 (age 56)
Place of birth: Santa Monica, California
Career information
College: USC
NFL draft: 1981 / Round: 1 / Pick: 15
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
INT: 30
INT yards: 431
Sacks: 15
Stats at

Dennis Smith (born February 3, 1959 in Santa Monica, California) is a retired American football safety who wore number 49 for the National Football League's Denver Broncos between 1981 and 1994.

High school career[edit]

Smith played high school football as a wide receiver and defensive back at Santa Monica High School (Samohi). He was the CIF Southern Section Co-Player of the Year in 1976. Dennis Smith was a great prospect who went on to be a Pro Bowl player. But at that time his standard as a player was to emulate Dennis Thurman, who had been such an outstanding player previously at Samohi in 1974 who also later starred at USC and Smith would eventually follow Thurman as a freshman to run track and play football at USC as a safety. Smith also ran on the track & field team at Santa Monica and broke the HS high jump record (which has since been eclipsed) in 1977. He was coached by Tebb Kusserow who has also coached other NFL notables such as Dennis Thurman, Junior Thurman, Mel Kaufman, Pat O'Hara, Dean Cain (TV's Superman), Glyn Milburn, Sam Anno, Damone Johnson and many others. Smith has alo been inducted into the Santa Monica High School Hall of Fame for athletes and has had his number "symbolically" retired by the school.

College career[edit]

Smith was a consensus All-America choice as a senior at USC in 1980. He played in two Rose Bowls for the USC Trojans. He played in a secondary which included 3 future NFL All-Pros: himself, the San Francisco 49ers' Ronnie Lott, and the Minnesota Vikings' Joey Browner. Smith was a consensus All-America choice as he lettered four times in football and three times in track. He posted 205 career tackles and 16 interceptions. He was inducted into the USC Ring of Fame in 2001. Smith played at Southern California (1977–1980) for John Robinson in a star-studded defensive backfield and is a member of the USC team that won the national championship in 1978.

Professional career[edit]

Smith established himself as one of the most feared and hardest hitting safeties in the NFL (a reputation later held by his protégé, Steve Atwater). Smith was voted to play in six Pro Bowls (following the 1985-1986, 1989–1991 and 1993 seasons), was named All-AFC in 1984 and 1988 and played on three Broncos Super Bowl teams (XXI, XXII, XXIV), and was named All-Pro 4 times.

Smith’s career totals include 1,171 tackles, 30 interceptions and 15 sacks. He posted a career- high five interceptions in 1991.


  • 2001 - Smith was inducted in the Ring of Fame
  • 2006 - Smith was inducted in the Colorado Hall of Fame
  • Ranks 4th all-time amongst Denver Broncos in games played with the franchise with 184.
  • Named the club's most inspirational player in 1992.


Dennis and his wife, Andree', own and manage a number of properties in Southern California, and also give their time and financial support to the Make-A-Wish Foundation and Covenant House, a home for kids in need. The Smiths reside in Hollywood Hills, California. Recently, Dennis, his wife, and daughter Tiffany Diamond were featured on an episode of MTV's Parental Control.

As of 2009 Dennis is currently filming a Television Pilot titled "Hopelessly Awkward" with his daughter Tiffany Diamond and son Armani Joseph.

External links[edit]