September 15, 2016
Buffalo Bills to retire Bruce Smith's No. 78
Ceremony will take place Thursday evening before the Bills' home opener

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. – The Buffalo Bills will be retiring the jersey No. 78 in honor of former Bills great and also former Virginia Tech alum Bruce Smith this Thursday evening before the team’s regular-season home opener against the New York Jets.

Smith, the No. 1 pick in the 1985 NFL Draft, spent 15 seasons with Buffalo and was a three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year (1990, 1993, and 1996). He also went to the Pro Bowl 11 times and was named to the NFL’s All-Decade Team during both the 1980s and the 1990s. He recorded 171 of his NFL-record 200 career sacks while with the Bills and set a franchise record with 19 sacks in 1990. He also played in all four of the Bills’ Super Bowl appearances.

Smith was enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2009. He is the only former Virginia Tech player to be inducted.

Smith’s No. 78 jersey at Virginia Tech already was retired in honor of his sensational college career. During his tenure with the Hokies, Smith registered a school-record 46 career sacks, including a single-season mark of 22 during his junior campaign in 1983. A two-time All-America selection, Smith also earned the 1984 Outland Trophy.

The Norfolk, Virginia native will be joining Bills quarterback Jim Kelly as only the second player in that franchise’s history to have his number retired. Kelly’s No. 12 was retired in 2001.

The following links are to stories related to Smith’s impact on the franchise, both as a player and a person, along with a video link about his special relationship with a Virginia Tech professor:

Link to video

For updates on Virginia Tech football, follow the Hokies on Twitter and on Instagram @vthokiefootball Instagram

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