Wednesday’s roundup: Bills will retire Smith’s number
Orchard Park, N.Y. — No one had as many sacks as Bruce Smith, and no one will ever wear his No. 78 jersey with the Bills again.
Bills officials announced Wednesday they will be retiring Smith’s number at halftime during the team’s prime-time home opener this season against the Jets on Sept. 15.
“I was a little numb. I was in somewhat of I would say, disbelief,” Smith said during a conference call. “This will be a celebration for the fans, the Buffalo Bills organization and the NFL.”
Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly’s No. 12 is the only other jersey retired by the Bills.
Selected by Buffalo with the No. 1 pick in the 1985 draft out of Virginia Tech, Smith became the NFL’s premier pass-rusher during a 19-year career, which ended in Washington in 2003. He holds the league record with 200 career sacks, with 171 coming during his 15 seasons with the Bills.
Smith was named the NFL defensive player of the year in 1990 and 1996, and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2009.
Having his number retired ranks among Smith’s top highlights.
“I didn’t know exactly what I was getting into and the expectations, but I quickly learned.” Smith said. “I’ve got to tell you, it was one of the most fulfilling experiences that God could’ve placed in front of me. I’m truly grateful and thankful.”
With Kelly and fellow Hall of Famers Thurman Thomas and Andre Reed playing key roles on offense, Smith was the focal point on the Bills defense. Together, the foursome was part of a Marv Levy-coached team that made and lost four consecutive Super Bowl appearances in the early 1990s.
Bills president Russ Brandon said the case could be made of Smith being regarded as the NFL’s greatest player.
Smith grew emotional in noting how he was informed of the honor a day after Mother’s Day, knowing what this would have meant to his mother, Annie Lee, who died two years ago.
In other Bills news, the team signed rookie cornerback Kevon Seymour.
The date has been set for the 2018 NFL Super Bowl to be played in Minneapolis.
Officials from the Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee say the NFL has scheduled the 2018 game for Feb. 4 at the U.S. Bank Stadium, which is currently under construction.
The stadium is due to be completed in time for the upcoming Vikings season.
Minneapolis was awarded Super Bowl 52 in 2014. The host committee says the announcement of a date on Wednesday officially starts its countdown to the 2018 game when more than 1 million people are expected to visit the Twin Cities during 10 days of Super Bowl activities.
Super Bowl 51 is scheduled for Feb. 5, 2017, in Houston.
... The Jaguars signed former first-round pick Bjoern Werner and released cornerback Chance Casey.
Werner is the sixth defensive lineman added to Jacksonville’s roster in the last two months.
The Jaguars signed defensive tackle Malik Jackson in free agency and drafted four more linemen — Maryland’s Yannick Ngakoue (third round), Notre Dame’s Sheldon Day (fourth), Montana’s Tyrone Holmes (sixth) and Central Arkansas’ Jonathan Woodard (seventh).
Werner played in 38 games in three years in Indianapolis, recording 77 tackles, 61/2 sacks, five passes defensed, two fumble recoveries and one forced fumble. A standout at Florida State, Werner was the 24th overall pick by the Colts in 2013.
Casey signed with the Jaguars in February spending time in Oakland, San Francisco, Indianapolis and Cleveland.
... Former Cardinals receiver Roy Green will be inducted into the team’s Ring of Honor at halftime against the Rams on Oct. 2. He finished his 12-year Cardinals career with 522 receptions for 8,496 yards and 66 receiving touchdowns.
... The Giants waived-injured linebacker Uani Unga and signed rookie cornerback Matt Smalley.
The Giants announced the moves Wednesday.
... The Bears have promoted Mark Sadowski to director of college scouting, replacing Joe Douglas.
Sadowski has 19 years of scouting experience with the Saints (1998-2005) and Bears (2005-16).
He replaces Joe Douglas, who left to become the Philadelphia Eagles’ vice president of player personnel.
... Rams safety T.J. McDonald has been arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of an unknown substance after he apparently struck a parked car.
Police spokesman Mike Lopez says the 25-year-old player was arrested Tuesday morning after officers found him at the crash scene in Woodland Hills.
McDonald, a former USC star, was booked and released on $300 bail.
The Rams said in a statement they were gathering information about McDonald’s arrest and had no further comment.
... Panthers owner and founder Jerry Richardson, 79, will have a second operation on his shoulder to repair a rotator cuff injury.
Team physician Pat Connor will perform the surgery on Thursday in Charlotte.