NO. 42


Nothing short of success


Lamar Smith proved size doesn't matter when the former South Side High School standout made it to the NFL.


When Lamar Smith was at South Side High School, lots of people told him he was too short or too slow or too something to make it as a professional football fullback. Smith eventually made it to the NFL, but after a roundabout route.

After high school, he attended Northeast Oklahoma A & M Junior College and then the University of Houston on scholarship for his final two years.

Despite academic problems in his first season and shoulder problems in his second at Houston, Smith rushed for 1,262 yards and 11 touchdowns on only 207 attempts during the midst of the Cougars' run-and-shoot offensive display. He rushed for 845 yards as a junior, averaging 7.6 yards per carry, which led the nation. The highlight of his college career came as a senior against Michigan when he rushed for 120 yards and scored three touchdowns.

The Seattle Seahawks made him their third-round pick in the 1994 NFL draft. During a four-year career in Seattle, Smith's production was limited by a broken leg in 1997 and a back injury that knocked him out for the season in 1994. The back injury was the result of an auto accident that left teammate Mike Frier paralyzed. Because Smith was driving, he agreed to pay Frier $4 million.

Smith recently started his second season with the New Orleans Saints. He started nine games for New Orleans last year, and entered this season with 1,743 career rushing yards in the NFL. His career-best game came Nov. 17, 1996, against the Detroit Lions when Smith rushed for 148 yards on 33 carries for Seattle.


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