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RIP, Bubba Smith

Football great and actor Bubba Smith has passed away.

Bubba Smith, an outsize presence in the National Football League who went on to a prolific career in television and the movies, was found dead on Wednesday at his home in Los Angeles. He was 66.

The cause was not yet known, a spokesman for the Los Angeles County coroner’s office said, adding, “There is no indication of anything other than natural death.”

A 6-foot-7 (or possibly 6-8), nearly 300-pound behemoth of a man, Smith, a defensive lineman, was the No. 1 draft pick for the Baltimore Colts in 1967. He spent nine seasons in the N.F.L., playing on two Pro Bowl teams, in 1970 and 1971. In 1971 he helped propel the Colts to a 16-13 victory over the Dallas Cowboys in Super Bowl V.

Traded to the Oakland Raiders before the start of the 1972 season, Smith played two seasons with them before winding up his career with the Houston Oilers. He retired after the 1976 season.

Afterward, Smith made a career of playing rather large men on film and television. He was best known for his role as Moses Hightower, the mild-mannered florist-turned-lawman in the film comedy “Police Academy” (1984) and many of its sequels.

As a child of the 80s I am of course familiar with his work in “Police Academy”, but I must say this is how I will always remember Bubba Smith:

See also here and here, and see how many faces you recognize. Rest in peace, Bubba Smith.

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