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Penn State Letterman Steve Smith Dies Following Battle With ALS

Penn State football letterman Steve Smith died Saturday following a decades-long battle with Lou Gehrig’s Disease. He was 57.

Smith served as a captain and fullback on Penn State’s 1986 national championship team. He scored four touchdowns and posted nearly 500 all-purpose yards for the title-winning Nittany Lions.

As a third-round selection in the 1987 NFL Draft, Smith went on to play for the Raiders for seven seasons before spending another two with the Seattle Seahawks. Although Smith primarily blocked for legendary NFL runners like Bo Jackson and Marcus Allen, he quietly racked up 1,627 rushing yards and 13 receiving touchdowns over his professional career.

“The Raiders Family is deeply saddened by the passing of Steve Smith, who valiantly battled Lou Gehrig’s Disease for two decades,” the team wrote on Twitter Saturday evening. “Steve and his wife Chie are an inspiration, smiling every day while always working for a cure for ALS.”

Smith was diagnosed with ALS about two decades ago. In recent years, he was unable to walk or talk but could communicate through a computer system.

Smith is survived by his wife, Chie; his children, Dante and Jazmin; and his grandson, Steve.

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About the Author

Matt DiSanto

Matt proudly served as Onward State’s managing editor for two years until graduating from Penn State in May 2022. Now, he’s off in the real world doing real things. Send him an email ([email protected]) or follow him on Twitter (@mattdisanto_) to stay in touch.

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