NFL CAREER – A true impact player on the Saints’ defense, Smith has been one of the top defenders in franchise history since being selected 18th overall in the 2004 NFL Draft. Since he joined the team, no Saint has had more than his 67.5 sacks, which ranks fourth in club record books (since 1982, when sacks were first recognized). He’s led New Orleans in quarterback takedowns in four seasons, as the first Saint to top the team in sacks three years in a row (2005-07) since La’Roi Glover from 1998-2000. Also a disruptive force against the run, the 2006 Pro Bowl selection has appeared in 139 games with 120 starts and has recorded 608 tackles, caused 19 fumbles and recovered seven. Smith, a five-time defensive captain, sets the tone for the entire unit with his rugged play and intensity. Though often double-teamed, he notched 67 stops (39 solo) last season, posting six sacks, one pass defense and one fumble recovery.
CAREER TRANSACTIONS – Agreed to terms on a six-year contract extension, 6/11/08; Signed to a six-year contract, 7/31/04; Selected in the first-round (18th overall) of the 2004 NFL Draft.
HONORS – 2006: Pro Bowl; 2004: Pro Football Weekly All-Rookie.
2012 – Started all 16 games at right defensive end and totaled 67 tackles (39 solo), six sacks for losses of 40 yards, one pass defensed and one fumble recovery…Accounted for a season-high eight tackles (five solo) and one sack vs. Kansas City, Sept. 23…Collected two tackles (one solo) and recovered a fumble at Green Bay, Sept. 30…Contributed three stops (two solo) and a sack of Philip Rivers vs. San Diego, Oct. 7…Earned three tackles (two solo) and tied a career-high with two sacks against Philadelphia, Nov. 5, his ninth career day with two or more takedowns…Finished with five stops (four solo) and a sack of Carson Palmer at Oakland, Nov. 18…Had six tackles (two solo) vs. San Francisco, Nov. 25…Made four tackles (three solo) and one sack in a shutout vs. Tampa Bay, Dec. 16. 2011 – Selected by teammates as one of two defensive team captains. Started all 14 games he played in and recorded 52 tackles (28 solo), ranked second on the team with 6.5 sacks and added one pass defensed and two forced fumbles. Also opened both postseason games and finished with six tackles (one solo)…Led the defensive line with five tackles and two sacks at St. Louis, Oct. 30…Along with Shaun Rogers, was credited for sealing a fourth-and-one run play by Michael Turner in overtime at their 29-yard line, allowing Malcolm Jenkins to make the stop for no gain to give the Saints the ball back and set up the game-winning field goal at the Falcons, Nov. 13…With a third quarter sack of Eli Manning vs. N.Y. Giants, Nov. 28, became fourth Saint to record 60 career takedowns…With his third quarter sack of Jake Locker at Tennessee, Dec. 11, the Titans would be put in a third-and-19 situation at the 11 that would eventually force a punt that gave the Saints possession at midfield. 2010 – Selected by teammates as one of the team’s five season-long captains. Started all 15 games he played in and finished with 70 tackles (31 solo) – his eighth straight season with over 55 stops, 5.5 sacks, one interception, five passes defensed and one forced fumble…Posted five or more tackles in 11 contests…Declared inactive with groin injury at Arizona, Oct. 10, missing first game since 2006…Recorded first sack of 2010 when he dropped Matt Ryan to put a halt to first drive of overtime vs. Atlanta, Sept. 26, moving him into top five among Saints players in quarterback takedowns. Also added five tackles (four solo)…Led pass rush vs. Pittsburgh, Oct. 31, accounted for five tackles (one solo), making a season-high and game-high 1.5 quarterback takedowns of Ben Roethlisberger and deflecting a pass near the line of scrimmage…Powered an aggressive defense at Dallas, Nov. 25, where in addition to six tackles (two solo), he picked off a first quarter pass by Jon Kitna that set up a field goal and added a fourth quarter sack that moved him to fourth on club’s all-time list for takedowns and forced a fumble…Third quarter takedown of Ryan created a third-and-long situation that forced a punt at Atlanta, Dec. 27. Also added five tackles (three solo)…Sacked Josh Freeman for a nine-yard loss to go with six tackles (one solo) in regular season finale vs. Tampa Bay, 1/2/11…Started NFC Wild Card Playoff at Seattle, 1/8/11, and finished with four solo tackles. 2009 – Started all 16 regular season games at right defensive end and posted career-high 13 sacks to rank second in NFC, adding 77 tackles (42 solo) with first career interception, four passes defensed and three forced fumbles. Notched 10 tackles (five solo), one forced fumble and one interception in three postseason starts…Led dominating defensive performance at Buffalo, Sept. 27, as he sacked Trent Edwards among his six tackles and also notched his first career interception as he grabbed a tipped pass in the 27-7 win…Had a second consecutive dominant game the following week vs. N.Y. Jets, Oct. 4, notching 1.5 sacks of Mark Sanchez, stripping the ball once, leading to Remi Ayodele recovering the fumble in the end zone for a touchdown. Also tallied six tackles…Contributed five tackles vs. N.Y. Giants, Oct. 18, and also drew a holding penalty that nullified a touchdown and forced a field goal…Vs. Atlanta Nov. 2, had four tackles and sacked Ryan twice, with an additional pass defense coming on another near-quarterback takedown…Recorded his second straight multi-sack game vs. Carolina, Nov. 8, dropping Jake Delhomme twice and stripped the ball on one, along with making a total of five tackles…Made seven tackles from his starting spot with a forced fumble and a three-yard sack of Marc Bulger at St. Louis, Nov. 15…Made six tackles at Tampa Bay, Nov. 22, recording an eight-yard sack of Freeman, marking the fourth consecutive game he recorded a takedown, the longest such streak of his career…Wrapped up a dominant November with his fifth consecutive game where he posted at least one sack, recording 1½ takedowns – splitting a sack of Tom Brady and later his backup dropping Brian Hoyer – among his four tackles in win over New England, Nov. 30…Posted six tackles vs. Dallas Dec. 19, with two sacks of Tony Romo to establish a new season career-high with 12…Recorded a season-best nine tackles vs. Tampa Bay, Dec. 27, with a three-yard sack of Freeman…Made an impact in NFC Divisional Playoff vs. Arizona, making one tackle and intercepting a pass by Kurt Warner that led to a New Orleans touchdown…Played virtually every defensive snap in the NFC Championship vs. Minnesota, making seven tackles (three solo) and forcing a Percy Harvin fumble that was recovered by Ayodele, leading to a Saints touchdown in the win…Made two tackles in Super Bowl XLIV. 2008 – Started all 16 games at right defensive end for the second straight year, recording 77 tackles (33 solo), three sacks for 23 yards in losses, a forced fumble and deflected a pass…Registered five or more tackles in 11 contests…Tallied four stops and one sack for a loss of 12 yards at Washington, Sept. 14…Accounted for five tackles (four solo), one sack and one forced fumble that was recovered by Jonathan Vilma and led to a touchdown vs. San Francisco, Sept. 28…Posted six tackles and a sack at Kansas City, Nov. 16…Recorded a season-high eight tackles (six solo) at Tampa Bay, Nov. 30…Posted five tackles vs. Atlanta, Dec. 7, including a key stop of Turner for a five-yard loss on a defensive stand to open the fourth quarter. 2007 – Started all 16 games at right defensive end, recording a team-high seven sacks and leading the Saints defensive line with 65 tackles (37 solo), registering two forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries, five tackles for a loss and three passes defensed…Selected by teammates as one of five captains…Recorded four tackles (three solo) a sack for a seven-yard loss and a forced fumble vs. Carolina, Oct. 7 in his 50th career game…Posted season-high eight tackles, including a nine-yard sack of Marc Bulger, vs. St. Louis, Nov. 11…Sacked Matt Schaub at Houston, Nov. 18. Also recovered a fumble that led to a TD drive…At Carolina, Nov. 25, had two tackles, knocked down a pass and had a fumble recovery…Made six tackles and recorded first career safety when he dropped Luke McCown in end zone for a seven-yard loss vs. Tampa Bay, Dec. 2…Recorded four tackles, deflected a pass, recovered a fumble and had a sack in busy day vs. Philadelphia, Dec. 23. 2006 – Started 14 games at right defensive end, inactive vs. San Francisco, Dec. 3, (knee) and vs. Carolina, Dec. 31, with Saints having clinched a playoff berth. Posted five or more tackles in seven contests. Ranked 14th in NFL with 10.5 sacks and added 56 tackles (35 solo), two passes defensed, three forced fumbles and one fumble recovery and was selected to the Pro Bowl…Had a sack in each of the first three games of the season, and added a fumble recovery at Green Bay, Sept. 17…Notched five stops, a career-high two sacks and a forced fumble at Tampa Bay, Nov. 5…Had two takedowns again at Atlanta, Nov. 26 – where he also deflected a pass and forced a fumble – and had two more takedowns at Dallas, Dec. 10…Also a force in the postseason, with eight stops vs. Philadelphia in the NFC Divisional Playoff game and seven tackles at Chicago in the NFC Championship game. 2005 – Tied for eighth in the NFC with a team-leading 8.5 sacks, despite opening only nine games and not becoming a full-time starter until the final six contests. Had at least one sack in six games. Recorded 85 tackles, six passes defensed, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery…Tallied five tackles, a sack and a forced fumble at Carolina, Sept. 11. Marked the fifth straight contest Smith had caused a fumble, the first player in club history to do so…Top performance of the season came at New England, Nov. 20, with career-high 12 tackles, 1.5 sacks and a forced fumble against defending Super Bowl Champions…Started at right defensive end at N.Y. Jets, Nov. 27 and responded with six tackles and a sack…Started at left defensive end vs. Detroit, Dec. 24 and had six tackles, one sack and a pass defensed. 2004 – Enjoyed a strong rookie year with 59 tackles (41 solo), 7.5 sacks, a team-high five forced fumbles and one fumble recovery. Appeared in all 16 games and started four, recording a sack in seven games. Sack total ranked second in NFL among rookies and fourth in club history for a rookie. Came on strong over last eight games with 36 tackles, 5.5 sacks, four forced fumbles and one fumble recovery…Finished with six tackles (four solo), a sack and a forced fumble vs. San Francisco, Sept. 19…Had four tackles (all solo) and one sack at Atlanta, Nov. 28…First of a three-week stretch where he posted a sack, including vs. Carolina, Dec. 5, and at Dallas, Dec. 12, when he also added a forced fumble…Dec. 19, at Tampa Bay, had a key fourth quarter forced fumble that set up a game-winning march. Also made a downfield block earlier in quarter on special teams to spring Michael Lewis for a 53-yard punt return…Equaled season-high with eight stops (seven solo), 1.5 sacks and a forced fumble with a fumble recovery at Carolina, 1/2/05…Posted a forced fumble in each of last four contests, the first player in club history to do so in four straight games.
COLLEGE – A three-year starter at right defensive end for Ohio State. Finished with career totals of 167 tackles (111 solo), 21 sacks, five forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, and an interception. Selected to OSU’s All-Decade Team. Opened 37 of 51 career games…Sack total ranked fifth in OSU history upon his departure…First-team All-American, All-Big 10 selection and conference’s Defensive Player of the Year and Defensive Lineman of the Year as a senior in 2003, posting 49 tackles (30 solo), 10.5 sacks and 20 stops for a loss…Finalist for Hendricks Award, given to nation’s top defensive end…All-Big 10 second-team as junior, appearing in every game despite suffering a midseason knee sprain, as he was one of the team leaders on a National Championship team…Recorded 5.5 sacks, a forced fumble, an interception and a fumble recovery…Named school’s Outstanding First-Year Defensive Player as freshman with three sacks…Majored in criminology.
PERSONAL – All-American at Proctor (Utica, N.Y.) HS, where he had 20 quarterback takedowns as senior…Named the Mohawk Valley Player of the Year as a senior and junior and was the runner-up for the state’s Player of the Year honors…Also was an All-CNY first-team selection and a Football New York All-State selection…Also ran on the track team for Proctor, finishing second in the New York state 4x100 relay and was also a basketball standout…Wants to be an FBI agent after he retires…Will’s “Where There’s a Will There’s a Way” foundation mentors, assists and provides educational and athletic support to at-risk children, as well as working with several charitable organizations throughout Louisiana…Since 2011, the foundation has sponsored an annual Celebrity Waiters event to benefit Bridge House…Has also hosted the Smith Family Christmas Event the past two holiday seasons at the practice facility, where 60 families from Kingsley House received gifts, a holiday meal, a tour of the facility and a opportunity to win raffle items…On the advisory board of Artists and Athletes Alliance which engages in productive dialogue with lawmakers, policymakers and opinion-leaders, so the voices of the artistic and athletic community can be heard on the many important issues facing the nation… In April, he attended NFL Franchising Boot Camp at the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan…Born July 4, 1981.
Will Smith's widow, Racquel, accepted his graduate degree posthumously during University of Miami's commencement on Thursday, May 5, 2016. (Video provided by the Smith family)
New Orleans Saints OLB Will Smith talks with reporters after practice on Wednesday, August 21, 2013.
New Orleans Saints LB Will Smith talks with Rob Nice after the New Orleans Saints vs Kansas City Chiefs game on Friday, August 9, 2013.
New Orleans Saints' linebacker Will Smith talks about transitioning to a new position in an interview after practice on Wednesday, July 31, 2013.