By JOE YERDON
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) – The Buffalo Bills retired Bruce Smith’s No. 78 at halftime of their game against the New York Jets on Thursday night.
Smith was joined at midfield during a halftime ceremony by his family as his name and number were unveiled on the wall above the east end zone. The field was adorned with a circular banner featuring Smith’s name and number and a separate banner with a picture of Smith during his playing days in Buffalo.
Smith played 19 seasons in the NFL, 15 of those with the Bills and is the NFL’s career sack leader with 200 and had 171 with Buffalo. He helped lead the Bills to four consecutive AFC championships from 1990-1993 and was a two-time NFL defensive player of the year in 1990 and 1996 and an 11-time Pro Bowl selection. Smith was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2009.
Smith is the second player in Bills history to have their number retired by the team. Quarterback Jim Kelly’s No. 12 was retired in 2001.