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Arkansas Football Great Smith Dies

March 22, 2001

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) _ Arkansas athletic director Frank Broyles called Billy Ray Smith Sr. ``a symbol of the success of Razorback football″ on Thursday.

Smith, 66, a football standout at Arkansas during the 1950s, died Wednesday after a two-year fight with cancer.

Smith, who played 13 years in the NFL, completed his Arkansas career before Broyles arrived as football coach in 1958.

``What I admired about Billy Ray is that he was a very successful businessman, but he never lost the bond with the University of Arkansas and the Razorback athletic program,″ Broyles said.

Smith played tackle for the Razorbacks from 1954-56, and his NFL career included two Super Bowl appearances with the Baltimore Colts.

``He was a great football player, a great athlete, but that barely scratches the surface of the kind of person he was,″ said Billy Ray Smith Jr., also a Razorbacks star and a former NFL player.

``He is the only father to have his son join him as an inductee in the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame,″ Broyles said.

After playing in the 1954 Cotton Bowl, Smith was drafted by the Los Angeles Rams in the third round in 1957. A year later, the Rams traded him to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Two years later, the Steelers sent Smith to the Colts.

Smith started at tackle through 1969 and remained with the Colts through the 1970 season, when Baltimore beat the Dallas Cowboys 16-13 in the Super Bowl. He also was with the Colts when they lost to the New York Jets 16-7 in the 1969 Super Bowl.

Smith is survived by his wife, Jenny; four children; three stepchildren; nine grandchildren; and two sisters.

A funeral is scheduled for Saturday in Little Rock.

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