Former Defensive End Chris Smith Dead At 31

Cha Miñoza
Chris Smith posing on the stairs.
instagram | Chris Smith

Chris Smith, a 31-year-old defensive end for the NFL, has died. The tragic news was confirmed by West Rowan High School on Monday. A cause of death is yet to be announced.

More on this story below.

RIP To A West Rowan Legend

The high school's football account broke the news on Twitter with a tribute post for the beloved athlete.

Twitter Reacts To The News

Twitter comments
twitter | West Rowan Football

Fans, fellow athletes, and locals reacted to the news and sent their condolences online.

He Was A Hometown Hero

Positive stories about Smith resurfaced and many called him a kind soul.

He Was A Great Athlete

He made an impact not just for his athleticism but also for his positive spirit.

Tragic Loss

The tragic loss is felt by his fans, family, and the whole community. Smith was a stand-up guy who had been a generous donor to several local projects.

He Never Forgot His Roots

While his successful career brought him to the NFL, he never forgot his roots and stayed close to the Rowan County community.

An Impressive Career

The talented athlete started as a defensive end for West Rowan during the state championship seasons 2008 - 2009. He was the Shrine Bowl Defensive MVP in 2009.

He Played For Several NFL Teams

His dedication to the sport and impressive abilities led him to the NFL. He was first drafted by the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2014.

His Best NFL Seasons

He had his best NFL season in 2017 and 2018 when he played for Cincinnati Bengals and Cleveland Browns the following year.

A Tragic Accident

In 2019, Smith's girlfriend, Petara Cordero, died in a tragic accident on a Cleveland highway. She was 26 years old.

They Had Tire Problems

According to reports, Petara was a passenger in Smith's Lamborghini when the car had a tire malfunction and spun on the road.

Struck By A Car

The couple exited the car without major injuries but Cordero was struck by an oncoming vehicle while waiting on the side of the road. Smith survived the accident with no injuries.

The Driver Had Been Drinking

The driver that hit Petara was a 47-year-old woman who later admitted that she had been drinking.

Statement From His Team

The Browns released a statement after the tragedy. “Words cannot describe the sorrow we feel for Chris following the loss of his girlfriend, Petara. Our entire organization mourns with Chris, his family, and the Cordero family. We will do everything possible to offer them our support, comfort, and any resources in this most difficult time.”

Smith's Tribute To His Girl

Chris also posted a tribute to Petara on his Instagram. "God has a plan for all of us we can’t understand but she is in a better place now and she can rest easy. My wifey my best friend and the mother of my beautiful daughter. Love you baby❤️🙏🏾 #StayStrong🙏🏾🥰❤️ #RIPMyLove," he wrote.

She Had Just Given Birth

Just a month before the tragedy, Petara had just given birth to their daughter.

Baby Haven

After the birth of their daughter, Chris uploaded a celebratory post for his girlfriend and Baby Haven.

Blessed With Beautiful Girls

"I’m so thankful to have another beautiful gift in this world my daughter Haven Harris Smith. You are such a blessing to me and your mother!! Love you Petara and Baby Haven❤️❤️❤️."

RIP, Chris

There has been no official word yet from Smith's team about his cause of death. He last played on Sunday for XFL's Seattle Sea Dragons, who won over St. Louis Battlehawks. He was announced dead the next day.