The Chiefs, who had the third pick, made it known to everyone before the 1988 NFL Draft that they intended to take Smith. The Detroit Lions, picking second, threatened to pick Smith and the Chiefs were forced to move up one slot to make sure that Smith would be their pick. Incidentally, one of the draft picks the Chiefs surrendered in order to move up turned out to be star linebacker Chris Spielman. Smith's pre-draft measurables were head-turning. He was 6'4", weighed 260 pounds, had a 7-foot-1½-inch arm span, and ran a 4.55 forty-yard dash.
Smith finished his 13 NFL seasons with 105 sacks, 30 forced fumbles, 12 fumble recoveries, 19 return yards, and 1 touchdown. He also intercepted 4 passes, returning them for 68 yards and a touchdown. He is the former co-owner of the Kansas City Brigade of the Arena Football League.
On October 22, 2006, Smith was inducted to the Chiefs's Hall of Fame.
Smith's trademark sack celebration, which consisted of him pantomiming swinging a baseball bat, was invented in tribute to another Kansas City sports hero, Hall Of FamerGeorge Brett. Smith might also be notable for investing along with fellow NFL player Ricky Siglar $700,000 in Miracle Cars.
There was a rule created in his name. The "Neil Smith" rule, enacted in 1998, prevents a defensive lineman from flinching to induce a false start penalty on the offense.
Neil Smith is Co-Owner of the Kansas City Brigade, a team in the Arena Football League. It was established in 2006 after Hurricane Katrina forced the New Orleans VooDoo to move to Kansas City only a few months prior to the 2006 season.
Smith appeared as a panelist on the Nickelodeon game show Figure it Out. He asked the decidedly nerdy contestant, Matthew, who had built a race winning cardboard boat, if his talent had anything to do with computers.