On Wednesday, the Buffalo Bills announced that they would be retiring No. 78 in honor of Hall of Fame defensive end Bruce Smith. Smith joins Jim Kelly as the only two Bills players to have their jerseys retired.
Bills team President Russ Brandon made the announcement on WGR-550.
"We will be honoring Bruce Smith, one of the greatest players in Bills history, during our Thursday night home opener in a special halftime ceremony in which we'll retired his jersey number," Brandon said. "On behalf of Kim and Terry Pegula and the entire Bills organization, we feel this is a tremendous opportunity to honor Bruce and his Hall of Fame career. We believe it's going to be a great night for Bruce and his family and Bills fans everywhere."
Smith was Buffalo's first round pick in the 1985 NFL draft and he may be the greatest Bills player of all-time. During his career with the Bills, Smith registered 171 sacks, 1,054 total tackles, 35 forced fumbles, 14 fumble recoveries, one defensive touchdown, and two interceptions.
The defensive end made 11 Pro Bowls in 12 seasons from 1987-1998 and was an eight time First-Team All-Pro. In addition to these accolades, Smith was a part of the Super Bowl Bills, a team that made four consecutive Super Bowl appearances. He was also a member of the NFL’s 1980s and 1990s All-Decade Teams, a two time AP Defensive Player of the Year, and a three time PFWA Defensive Player of the Year.
Smith would go on to play three seasons with the Washington Redskins. The defensive end finished his career with 200 total sacks. The defensive end is already on Buffalo's Wall of Fame and was named to their 50th Anniversary Team. In 2009, Smith was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Smith said the following about his jersey being retired to BuffaloBills.com:
"I want people to remember the effort and dedication and commitment that I put into playing this game," said Smith. "Trying to make the fans feel proud and give them a source of entertainment for three hours every week. Just that will to continue to get better and be a champion and be the best and bring that energy that was a missing piece to a great and historical sports town."
It's safe to say that the Ralph will be even crazier for Buffalo's home opener on Thursday Night Football against the Jets after Wednesday's announcement.