Former Raiders fullback Steve Smith died on Saturday in his hometown of Richardson, Texas, after a lengthy battle with ALS, the team announced.
He was 57.
“The Raiders Family is deeply saddened by the passing of Steve Smith, who valiantly battled Lou Gehrig's Disease for two decades,” the Las Vegas Raiders said in a statement. “Steve and his wife Chie are an inspiration, smiling every day while always working for a cure for ALS. The prayers of the entire Raider Nation are with Chie, their children Dante and Jazmin, and their grandson Little Steve.”
“He’s the toughest fullback I’ve ever seen.”
Rest in peace to the great Steve Smith 🖤 pic.twitter.com/giM4IjGCTK
— Las Vegas Raiders (@Raiders) November 21, 2021
Smith was drafted by the Los Angeles Raiders in the third round of the 1987 draft after a dominant four-year run at Penn State — including a championship season in 1986. Smith spent seven seasons with the Raiders, racking up 1,528 yards and seven touchdowns and serving as the lead blocker for both Bo Jackson and Marcus Allen, among others.
He played his two final seasons in the league with the Seattle Seahawks before retiring after the 1995 season.
Smith was diagnosed with ALS nearly two decades ago. He hasn’t been able to walk or talk in years, and was fighting with the help of machines and his wife Chie.
"He laid his body on the line for me hundreds of times," Jackson told the York Daily Record in 2019. "I'm just glad God let him stay around as long as he has so I can go see him ... I want to do my part to make sure he's not forgotten."