Former NFL Player Chris Smith Died at 31 — What Was His Cause of Death?

Elizabeth Randolph - Author
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Apr. 19 2023, Published 11:43 a.m. ET

For eight seasons with the NFL, Chris Smith, a native of Salisbury, N.C., dominated football fields as a defensive end on multiple teams. Throughout his career, Chris played for the Cincinnati Bengals, the Cleveland Browns, the Las Vegas Raiders, and several other teams before he left the NFL in 2021.

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In 2023, Chris began playing for the XFL’s Seattle Sea Dragons. Sadly, in April 2023, reports confirmed that Chris died at age 31. What was Chris Smith’s cause of death? Here’s everything we know.

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NFL player Chris Smith’s cause of death is unknown as his colleagues mourn his loss.

The news surrounding Chris’s death came out in April 2023. On April 17, Chris’s high school alma mater, West Rowan High School in North Carolina, tweeted several photos of the NFL player on the field above a heartfelt message for Chris confirming he had died.

“Rest in Peace to a West Rowan Legend!” the school’s football team wrote. “Chris was a better person than he was a player! The impact he had on those around him will be remembered forever!”

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As of this writing, Chris’s cause of death hasn’t come out to the public. Before he died, Chris was seemingly in good spirits. CBS reported that the athlete played a game with the Seattle Sea Dragons one week before his death.

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However, Chris hadn’t been active on social media in the weeks leading up to his death. The athlete’s last post on his Instagram account was published on March 30, 2023.

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Chris Smith was a proud father of three kids — and he endured a tragedy involving the mother of one of his children.

While Chris’s cause of death isn’t known yet, his fans widely knew the athlete’s dedication to his children. Chris was a father of three kids, all of whom are seemingly from different relationships. His third daughter, Haven Harris Smith, was born in 2019, just months before Chris and Petara Cordero, Haven’s mom, were in a tragic accident that took Petara’s life.

Per the New York Post, Petara died in September 2019 after being struck by an ongoing car in Cleveland. She and Chris were standing on a Cleveland highway after Chris’s Lamborghini had a tire malfunction.

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According to the football player, his girlfriend was struck by a passing car on the road and died the same night.

“She didn’t feel any pain,” Chris shared with Sports Illustrated in 2020. “It was like she died in her sleep.”

Chris shared in 2019 that football and the NFL’s support got him through the tragic time. In light of his death, his last corporation, XFL, said in a statement that he was “a cherished player and member of the Seattle Sea Dragons.”

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