Former NFL defensive end Bruce Smith was the guest speaker for the Salvation Army’s Souper Bowl for the Hungry event on February 20 at the Holiday Inn in Johnson City, TN. The function is an annual event that is designed to raise money to support the Salvation Army’s programs and raise awareness of what they do for the surrounding community.
The 11-time Pro Bowl selection and four-time UPI AFC Defensive Player of the Year spent a solid 14 years playing for the Buffalo Bills and three more with the Washington Redskins throughout his career before retiring from football in early 2004. Smith was a part of both of the 1980s and 1990s NFL All-Decade team and achieved the 1984 Outland Trophy. In addition to that, he was the 1987 Pro Bowl MVP and has earned a spot of the Buffalo Bills Wall of Fame. During his entire career Smith played a total of 279 games with 1,225 tackles, 200 sacks, 15 recovered fumbles and 1 touch down.
The humble recorder holding NFL player explained to the audience at the Salvation Army’s Souper Bowl luncheon that despite their popularity, athletes are no where near as heroic as the volunteers at the organization. Smith applauded people across the world who donate their time to charities as well as those in the armed forces, and he told a story from his own life about a trip he took to Kenya with a non-profit group called Operation Smiles. During this trip a U.S. soldier protected him from a nearby explosion, and this is what he says opened his eyes to how important veterans are. The Salvation Army puts an effort towards taking care of homeless former servicemen, which Smith stated he is very grateful for.
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Watch Bruce Smith Speaking about his glory days with the Bills: