Important Dates in Bills History, presented by M&T Bank, helps fans recognize what's important. In the NFL, building a strong defense is important, and on Feb.22, 1985 future Hall of Fame defensive end Bruce Smith reached a provisional agreement with the Buffalo Bills.
Smith, a Virginia Tech product, was highly effective on defense throughout his collegiate career. He produced 22 sacks in his junior year playing for the Hokies, and another 16 his senior year. Due to his outstanding effort, Smith was named as an All-America selection in 1984. Prior to the 1985 draft, Smith reached a provisional contract agreement with the Bills that is said to have been valued at $2.6 million for four years. Come draft day, Smith was selected by the Bills with the No.1 overall pick.
Smith made an immediate impact on Buffalo's defense, as he recorded 6.5 sacks his first season. A physical and dynamic pass rusher, Smith posed a significant threat to opposing quarterbacks. His most productive season came in 1990, when he amassed 19 sacks. During Smith's 15 seasons with the Bills, he accumulated a franchise leading 171 sacks and helped the Bills win four consecutive AFC Championships. Smith's play also led him to the Pro Bowl 11 times, which remains the most in Bills history.
His legendary 19-year NFL career is still very much celebrated today. Recognized as one of the best defensive ends to play the game, Smith has earned a number of awards and holds several records. With 200 career sacks, Smith is the NFL's leader in this defensive category. Smith was inducted to the College Football Hall of Fame in 2006, the Buffalo Bills Wall of Fame in 2008 and to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2009.