Former Raiders Starting TE Announces Retirement From NFL

lee smith

Getty Lee Smith hugging Derek Carrier.

The Las Vegas Raiders have had some great tight ends over the years who have helped pave the way for success. One of the more underrated tight ends who has played for the was Lee Smith. He was with the team from 2015 to 2018 in 32 games. He was a key member of the 2016 team that went 12-4 and made the playoffs.

Smith spent the last season with the Altana Falcons but doesn’t have any football left in him. After an 11 year career, the veteran tight end announced that he’s retiring from the NFL.

Smith was never much of a receiving threat. He only caught 73 passes throughout his entire career. However, he was a great blocker and teammate. Blocking tight ends don’t often get a ton of credit but Smith had an impact wherever he went.

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Smith Discusses Decision to Retire

Smith has spent years doing a lot of the dirty work for offenses. Though he spent a big portion of his life playing football, he wasn’t too sad to officially end his career.

“Walking off the field [for the last time], I thought it was going to be bittersweet,” Smith told Scott Bair of “It was just sweet.”

Smith has played for four different teams over his career and has a sense of closure now that his career is ending.

“There’s something about the closure of driving home with a U-Haul, which I’ve done more times than I can count from more cities than I can count,” Smith said. “On the final drive home, it just hit me — this is it. And right then, the waterworks just started. My eight-year-old was sitting here beside me and I was trying to hide it from her. It wasn’t like I was sad my NFL career was over. It was like, [wow], I did it.”‘

Smith Went out of His Way to Defend Derek Carr

2016 was a special season for the Raiders. Prior to quarterback Derek Carr getting injured late in the season, everything was finally clicking for a team that didn’t have a winning season since 2002. Unfortunately, the success wasn’t sustained. Despite keeping many of the pieces that helped get them to the playoffs, the Raiders missed the playoffs in 2017, which led to the firing of head coach Jack Del Rio.

When Jon Gruden was hired, Smith was one of the few that lasted with the team. That 2018 season was not good as the Raiders went 4-12. Bair was on the Raiders beat during that season and shared a story about Smith and Carr:

Here’s another tale from his Raiders days, further proof Smith would lie down in traffic for his own. Quarterback Derek Carr’s leadership was being attacked during the 2018 season, with pundits saying he had lost the locker room and even his own offensive line. Smith called beat reporters to his locker during that difficult period – in 15 years I’ve never seen a player request a media scrum – and defended Carr until the questions about the beleaguered quarterback had run dry.

Smith should hold a special place in the hearts of Raiders fans for that selfless act. It’s likely that he was involved in many more similar acts that aren’t known to the public.

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Bill Woolfrom
Bill Woolfrom
8 months ago

You guys really need to proofread before publishing a bunch of crap articles. Punctuation, grammar, and spelling are atrocious in the first two paragraphs. Couldn’t even read the rest but I bet it’s just as bad.

Jonathan Watts
Jonathan Watts
8 months ago
Reply to  Bill Woolfrom

Let alone all of the other mistakes, how does someone misspell Atlanta?

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