Rickey Smiley Morning Show Featured Video
Baltimore Colts defensive tackle Bubba Smith in 1967.

He was 66.

Police had not determined a cause of death by Wednesday night, but officials believe he died of natural causes, according to The Times.

Smith spent his career as a defensive lineman with the Baltimore Colts, Oakland Raiders and Houston Oilers, making the Pro Bowl as a Colt in 1970 and ’71.

Known for his imposing 6-foot-7 frame, Smith was one of the league’s most feared linemen, often requiring two men to slow him down. He retired from the NFL in 1976 after two seasons with the Oilers, turning his focus to acting.

He got his start with a series of popular Miller Lite television ads featuring former players, including one in which he tore the top off a beer can with ease (video below).

Bubba Smith in the 1980 film Police Academy 3, dressed for an undercover assignment.

Smith went on to star in the Police Academy film franchise, launched in 1984. He played Moses Hightower, a soft-spoken gentle giant. Smith would appear in all but one of the six sequels.

His television and film career spanned from 1978-2010 and included appearances in television series’ such as Good Times and Charlie’s Angels.

As a collegian at Michigan State University, Smith was an All-American lineman in 1965 and ’66, celebrated by fans with the chant “Kill Bubba, Kill.”

He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1988 and Michigan State retired his No. 95 jersey in 2006.

Bubba Smith attempts to block Joe Namath’s pass during Super Bowl III in 1969.

Two seasons after the Colts made Smith the No. 1 pick of the 1967 NFL Draft, he was depicted in one of the indelible images of the burgeoning league, leaping at a poised Joe Namath during Super Bowl III.

The Colts would lose that Super Bowl, cemented in NFL lore by Joe Namath’s pre-game guarantee. But two years later, Smith and the Colts went on to win Super Bowl V, defeating the Dallas Cowboys 16-13.

He finished his NFL career with 76 tackles and four fumble recoveries. Quarterback sacks were not recorded as a statistic for defensive players until 1982.

Also On The Rickey Smiley Morning Show:
Rest In Power: Notable Black Folks Who We’ve Lost In 2021
62 photos
More From Rickey Smiley Show