The New Orleans Saints will remember one of their most popular players on Sunday, as defensive end Will Smith will posthumously become the sixth member of the team’s Ring of Honor.
The ceremony will take place at halftime of their home game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Smith played in New Orleans for nine seasons after the Saints selected him 18th overall in the 2004 draft. He retired in 2012 with the fourth-most sacks in team but was tragically shot to death in 2016.
The Saints’ Ring of Honor was established in 2013, where Smith will join owner Tom Benson, kicker Morten Andersen, linebacker Rickey Jackson, quarterback Archie Manning and offensive tackle William Roaf. Smith is already one of 51 members of the Saints Hall of Fame when he was inducted six months after his death.
Smith helped lead the Saints to their lone Super Bowl win in 2010 and earned one Pro Bowl nod in 2006. He made an instant impact as a rookie by leading the league with six forced fumbles and led the team in sacks four times. From 2004-12, he ranked 12th in the NFL with 67.5 sacks, tied for 13th with 20 forced fumbles and finished eighth with 85 tackles for a loss.
During his playing days, Smith was recognized as one of the league’s best D-lineman, as well. The Saints gave him a six-year, $70 million extension in 2008 that included $26 million in guarantees to make him the third highest-paid defensive end in league history.
Popular not only for his time on the field, Smith stayed active in the community as well. Among other charitable efforts, he and his wife, Racquel, founded the "Where There's a Will There's a Way" foundation to mentor and provide support for at-risk children in New Orleans and his hometown of Utica, N.Y.
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