The Buffalo Bills have only retired one number in franchise history. That total is about to double in size.
The team announced Wednesday morning that Bruce Smith, the Bills legendary defensive end and member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, will have his No. 78 jersey retired this season at the team's home opener. It's a primetime home opener, too, as the Bills are taking on the Jets on Thursday, September 15 at Ralph Wilson Stadium.
Smith will join Jim Kelly, who had his No. 12 jersey retired in 2001, as the only Bills players to ever have their numbers forever etched in the team's history. The defensive end is the NFL's all-time sack leader, having 200 sacks throughout the duration of his career.
“On behalf of Terry and Kim Pegula and the entire Bills organization, we feel this is a tremendous opportunity to honor Bruce and his Hall of Fame career," Bills managing partner and team president Russ Brandon said via the team's official press release. "We believe it’s going to be a great night for Bruce, his family and Bills fans everywhere.”
During his illustrious 15-year career with the Bills, he made the Pro Bowl 11 times, he holds the franchise record for career sacks (171), and in 1990, he set the franchise mark for most sacks in a single season with 19. As a member of the team, he was also named the NFL's Defensive Player of the Year in both 1990 and 1996.
Smith was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame back in 2009. Since he left the team in 1999, no other Bills player has donned the No. 78.