The shootings took place during an argument that occurred when Smith’s SUV was rear-ended at an intersection, police said. Smith died behind the wheel while his wife, Racquel, was wounded in the leg. A 30-year-old man and a gun are in custody, authorities announced.
Smith, 34, was a five-time defensive captain during his 10 seasons with the Saints, leading the team in sacks for three straight years (2005-07) and finishing with 67.5 in his career, fourth-most in team history.
He experienced the highs and lows — winning a Super Bowl in 2009 and being suspended four games in 2012 following the NFL’s investigation into the Bountygate scandal. His suspension was later overturned.
Smith tore an ACL in the 2013 preseason and was released following the season in a cost-cutting move. Still, he thanked the Saints and said New Orleans had become home to his family.
“While it was always my dream to retire as a member of the New Orleans Saints, I recognize that the NFL remains a business first. I will always be grateful to Mr. (Tom) Benson, Mr. (Mickey) Loomis, and Coach (Sean) Payton for the opportunity they gave me to play the sport I love in front of football’s greatest fans, amongst some of my best friends. …
“We accomplished great things during my time with the Saints, including winning the first Super Bowl in franchise history, and I am proud of my contributions during the decade I wore black and gold. My wife Racquel and I will continue our commitment to improving lives for New Orleans’ youth no matter where my next stop in professional football takes me. I’m in good spirits, thankful and focused on training. My family and I welcome the next chapter in our NFL life. Who Dat!”
Smith was drafted 18th overall in 2004 out of Ohio State, where he was named a member of the All-Decade Team.