Hey, Falcoholics, I’m back with another edition of The Falcoholic’s Throwback Thursday series. This weekly segment highlights a former Atlanta Falcons player and discusses their life and what they did for the franchise.
Whether you’ve been a fan since the inaugural season, or just became a fan recently, this series will give insight on players from the past. This week we will be focusing on defensive end Chuck Smith.
Charles Henry Smith III was born on Dec. 21, 1969, in Athens, Georgia. Chuck Smith attended Clarke Central High School, which has also produced some other former Atlanta Falcons, such as defensive backs Corey Hall and Dunta Robinson.
Smith attended Northeastern Oklahoma A&M for two years, before earning a full scholarship to play for the University of Tennessee. As a Volunteer, Chuck played in the Sugar Bowl, the Fiesta Bowl, and was named the Most Valuable Player at the 1991 Senior Bowl.
With the 51st overall pick in the 1992 NFL Draft, the Atlanta Falcons selected Smith. Chuck has always been remembered as a fan favorite, as he has the third-most sacks in franchise history (58.5), trailing only Pro Football Hall of Famer Claude Humphrey (94.5) and John Abraham.
Chuck Smith led the “Bomb Squad” 1997-1998 Falcons defensive line, which also led to the franchise’s first Super Bowl appearance in 1998. In 1999, Smith had a solid 10-sack season, which would also be his final in Atlanta. As a Falcon, Chuck totaled 58.5 sacks, 322 tackles, three interceptions, and a defensive touchdown.
In 2000, Chuck Smith joined the Carolina Panthers, but retired after one season due to knee injuries. Since his retirement, Chuck has stayed close to football. He spent the 2010 season as an assistant coach for the University of Tennessee and has also worked as a radio host in Atlanta.
Outside of football, Chuck has been very active in the community, where he served on the executive board of the Boy Scouts of America, the advisory board of the Gwinnett County School System, and the Gwinnett Medical Center Concussion advisory board.
Falcons fans will always remember the five-time captain as a force on the field. The franchise hasn’t been blessed with a lot of great pass rushers, so we make sure to remember those who did excel at getting to the quarterback. Smith was a Pro Bowl Alternate five times, and was named the NFL Defensive Player of the Week three times.
More recently, Smith has been involved with improving the skills of present and future NFL pass rushers through Chuck Smith Training. NFL Players such as Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller, Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald, and former Atlanta Falcons’ defensive end Osi Umenyiora have all benefited from Chuck Smith Training.
Let me know in the comments below some of your favorite Chuck Smith memories. As always, you can find me on Twitter @EvanBirchfield. Additionally, make sure to follow @The_Falcoholic on Instagram for up-to-date news and information. Thanks for reading, Falcoholics.