L. J. Smith
Smith with the Baltimore Ravens
|Date of birth:||May 13, 1980|
|Place of birth:||Highland Park, New Jersey|
|Height:||6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)|
|Weight:||258 lb (117 kg)|
|NFL draft:||2003 / Round: 2 / Pick: 61|
|Career NFL statistics|
|Stats at NFL.com|
John Smith III (born May 13, 1980), commonly known as L. J., which stands for "Little John", is a former American football tight end in the National Football League (NFL). He was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in the second round of the 2003 NFL Draft. He played college football at Rutgers.
A four-year starter, he finished second in Rutgers history among tight ends with 122 receptions for 1,458 yards and ten touchdowns, surpassed only by Marco Battaglia. Smith earned All-Big East honors as both a junior and senior, and served as team captain as a senior, leading the Scarlet Knights with a career-high 32 receptions for 384 yards and three touchdowns.
Smith was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in the second round of the 2003 NFL Draft. As a rookie he had 27 receptions for 321 yards and a touchdown. He had 34 receptions, 377 yards and five touchdowns in 2004. His touchdown total of five was the most in a season by an Eagles tight end since Chad Lewis posted six in 2001. Smith also made an impressive diving reception in the back of the end zone for the Eagles' first touchdown in Super Bowl XXXIX.
He followed up his 2004 season with a strong 2005 campaign, hauling in 61 receptions for 682 yards (both career highs) and three touchdowns.
In 2006 he had 50 receptions for 611 yards and five touchdowns. In 2007 he had only 22 receptions for 236 yards and a touchdown.
On February 19, 2008 he was designated the franchise player of the Eagles. He finished the 2008 season with 37 receptions for 298 yards and three touchdowns.
Smith signed a one-year, $1.5 million deal with the Baltimore Ravens on March 20, 2009. In his lone season in Baltimore (plagued by injuries) Smith had only two catches for 31 yards, and had no starts backing up Todd Heap.
Smith was included in the 2005 Chunky Soup commercials featuring Donovan McNabb. He enjoys playing basketball and was a tremendous basketball prospect who drew interest from a number of Division I programs including Florida State and various schools from the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference. He currently resides in Longport, NJ. He currently owns and operates Plato's Closet in Edison, NJ.