|No. 59, 56, 54|
April 15, 1970 |
|High school:||Miami Gardens (FL) Miami Norland|
|NFL Draft:||1993 / Round: 2 / Pick: 54|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NFL statistics|
|Player stats at PFR|
Darrin Andrew Smith (born April 15, 1970) is a former American football linebacker in the National Football League (NFL) for the Dallas Cowboys, Philadelphia Eagles, Seattle Seahawks and New Orleans Saints. Smith played college football at the University of Miami.
Smith attended Miami Norland High School. He was a two-way player as a junior, lining up as a linebacker and a 185-pound pulling guard. In one game he played outside linebacker, offensive tackle, center and guard.
Smith was a member of the Dennis Erickson's 1989 and 1991 national-championship teams for the University of Miami. He played strongside linebacker, where along with teammates Jessie Armstead (weakside linebacker) and Michael Barrow (middle linebacker), formed arguably one of the greatest linebacking corps in college football history, known as "The Bermuda Triangle".
As a redshirt freshman, he was a backup linebacker tallying 64 tackles (seventh on the team), 8 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, 4 quarterback pressures, 3 passes defensed, while contributing on the special teams units that achieved an NCAA season record low of 0.2 yards allowed per punt return. The next year he earned the starter position at strongside linebacker, posting 105 tackles (third on the team), 4 tackles for loss, 3 sacks, 5 quarterback pressures and 8 passes defensed.
As a junior, he led the team with 126 tackles and was named Big East Conference co-defensive player of the year, along with Syracuse University defensive tackle George Rooks. He also had 10 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks, 5 quarterback pressures, 4 passes defensed and one forced fumble.
As a senior, he registered 106 tackles (second on the team), helping the team achieve a top eight ranking in total defense, while allowing 11.5 points per game. He made 2 sacks, 8 quarterback pressures, 4 tackles for loss, 9 passes defensed, one interception and 2 forced fumbles.
He finished his college career with 401 tackles (fourth in school history). He was a two-time second-team All-American and a Butkus Award semi-finalist. Smith stayed five years at the University of Miami, the first as a red-shirted freshman under Jimmy Johnson, so he could get a complete education. He earned his master's degree in marketing after getting his undergraduate degree in business management. He was the school's first National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame Scholar-Athlete recipient.
In 2006, he was inducted into the University of Miami Sports Hall of Fame.
Smith was selected by the Dallas Cowboys in the second round (54th overall) of the 1993 NFL Draft. As a rookie, he was named the starter at weakside linebacker in the fourth game of the season against the Green Bay Packers, after Ken Norton Jr. was moved to middle linebacker. He registered 93 tackles (fourth on the team and led NFL rookies), 4 passes defensed, 2 fumble recoveries. His best game came in the seventh game against the Philadelphia Eagles with 14 tackles. He was named to the NFL All-rookie team and was considered one of the fastest linebackers in the league, extremely quick and versatile. He also was a part of the Super Bowl XXVIII winning team.
The next year, he recorded 103 tackles (fourth on the team), 4 sacks (fifth on the team), 10 passes defensed (fifth on the team) and 2 interceptions. He had 15 tackles against the Cleveland Browns.
In 1995, Smith was a restricted free agent and the team gave him a one-year qualifying offer instead of a long term deal, so he sat out the first 7 games in a contract dispute, in order to avoid injury and be more marketable in free agency. He signed and played in the nine games that were needed for his contract to not be voided for that season. He collected 65 tackles (seventh on the team), 3 sacks and returned a fumble 63 yards (sixth longest in franchise history) against the Kansas City Chiefs. He helped the Cowboys win Super Bowl XXX. In 1996, he signed a one-year contract, posting 117 tackles (third on the team) and one sack.
In the 1990s, the Cowboys organization felt they could find linebackers through the draft, without the need of paying a premium and adversely impacting the salary cap, so they allowed talented and productive players like Ken Norton Jr., Dixon Edwards, Robert Jones and Randall Godfrey, to leave via free agency, instead of signing them into long-term contracts. In 1997, after he became a free agent the Cowboys replaced him by drafting Dexter Coakley.
Although he was looking for a multiyear deal, because that season many teams had salary cap problems, he was forced to sign a one-year contract with the Philadelphia Eagles on April 19, 1997. His time with the team was disappointing after suffering a sprained left ankle in training camp which forced him to miss 3 of the first 5 games. He then had torn ligaments in his right ankle and missed the last 6 contests, which limited him to only 7 games. He was placed on the injured reserve list on November 19. He registered 13 tackles, one sack, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery.
On February 23, 1998, he reunited with Dennis Erickson, signing a contract with the Seattle Seahawks and becoming the starter at strongside linebacker. He collected 80 tackles, 5 sacks (fifth on the team), 3 interceptions (tied for second on the team), 2 forced fumbles and 2 fumble recoveries. He started 12 games, including 3 at middle linebacker because of injuries to Dean Wells and DeShone Myles. He was inactive in 3 games because of injuries.
The next year, he had 90 tackles (third on the team), one sack, one interception and 3 passes defensed. On February 10, 2000, he was released because of salary cap reasons.
New Orleans Saints
On July 16, 2000, he signed a one-year deal with the New Orleans Saints. Although he lacked the size, he became the starting middle linebacker at 235 pounds, using his quickness to rank second on the team with 113 tackles, he also added two interceptions (on returned for a touchdown), 21 passes defensed and 2 sacks. He became a key contributor for the Saints' defense and the team's run to the NFC Western Division title.
On March 29, 2001, he was re-signed for 4 more years. In 2003, he started 9 out of 14 games, finishing fifth on the team in tackles. He was cut on September 5, 2004. He was re-signed on December 1. After injuries limited him to only 3 games, he wasn't re-signed at the end of the season.
Smith played in the NFL for 12 seasons, recording 24 quarterback sacks, 11 interceptions and 4 touchdowns. He never appeared in a Pro Bowl, but he is the only professional football player to earn two College Football National Championship rings (1989 and 1991) and two Super Bowl rings (1993 and 1995).
|Year||Team||Games||Combined Tackles||Tackles||Assisted Tackles||Sacks||Forced Fumbles||Fumble Recoveries||Fumble Return Yards||Interceptions||Interception Return Yards||Yards per Interception Return||Longest Interception Return||Interceptions Returned for Touchdown||Passes Defended|
Smith now owns and operates a real estate investment/development company. He is a member of The Fountain of Pembroke Pines (Pastor Wayne Lomax) where he heads the Athletes for Christ Bible Study Ministry. He is married to Kimberly Smith and the father of twins, a boy and a girl, Darrin and Darris Smith.
- "Dallas Signs Darrin Smith". Nl.newsbank.com. October 15, 1995. Retrieved February 19, 2017.
- "Cowboys Play It Safe, Tap Into Miami Connection". Retrieved February 19, 2017.
- "Backup Myles Ready To Replace Smith". Retrieved February 19, 2017.
- "Free agency could hurt Dallas". The Tuscaloosa News. Retrieved 20 March 2017.
- "Cowboys just don't keep All-Pro linebackers". Retrieved February 19, 2017.
- "Eagles Get Ex-Cowboy Darrin Smith". Retrieved February 19, 2017.
- "Transactions". Retrieved February 19, 2017.
- "Saints sign LB Darrin Smith". Retrieved February 19, 2017.
- "Saints keep Darrin Smith". Retrieved February 19, 2017.
- "Saints release 16, including Fontenot and Darrin Smith". Retrieved February 19, 2017.
- "Darrin Smith Stats". ESPN Internet Ventures. Retrieved 4 June 2017.