Mother of Chris Smith’s seven-year-old son posts heartbreaking tribute to his father and former NFL player following his death at 31: ‘You knew how to brighten up a room’
The mother of Chris Smith’s seven-year-old son has paid tribute to the former NFL player in an emotional post following the father’s death at the age of 31.
Smith passed away just hours after playing for the Seattle Sea Dragons in the XFL, and as yet no cause of death has been announced.
Tributes poured in for the ex-defensive end on Tuesday and now Alexis Dodds, the mother of Smith’s son Jayceon, has taken to social media, sharing a heartbreaking post.
Alongside a TikTok reel of pictures and videos with Smith, the travel nurse wrote on Instagram: ‘Where do I begin? 2013 my life changed forever with out even knowing. I thank God for the 10 years of knowing you, but I even thank him more for letting us create a son, a legacy.
‘You knew how to brighten up a room with your laugh and spirit. We have had many highs and many lows.. a lot of people could never understand our relationship.
The mother of Chris Smith’s seven-year-old son has paid tribute to the former NFL player
‘But through it all we knew we was family and loved each other deeply. I can’t believe I’m writing this right now, and I don’t know how to tell our son, that you are gone.
‘I promise that your legacy will live on forever! We love you Smitty..fly high love.’
The 2014 NFL Draft pick spent time with seven different teams across eight seasons in the league, ending his pro career with the Houston Texans in 2021.
Smith’s last Instagram post was March 30, captioned ‘XFL Live’ where he appears to be talking about playing football with a teammate. Comments underneath were paying tribute to Smith, with one saying: ‘Love you fam fly high’.
He was represented by Nicole Lynn, the agent who on Monday negotiated the $255m deal Jalen Hurts signed with the Philadelphia Eagles, making him the highest paid player in NFL history.
The Cleveland Browns said in a statement on Tuesday: ‘We are deeply saddened by the passing of former Browns DE Chris Smith. Chris was one of the kindest people, teammates and friends we’ve had in our organization. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family during this difficult time.’
In a Tweet revealing Smith’s passing on Monday, West Rowan High School’s football account said: ‘Rest in Peace to a West Rowan Legend!
‘Chris was a better person than he was player! The impact he had on those around him will be remembered forever!’
Cleveland Browns tight-end David Njoku added in his own tribute: ‘Rest in paradise Chris Smith. Hometown hero and a brother to everyone. Such a kind soul. This is Heartbreaking.’
Smith passed away just hours after playing for the Seattle Sea Dragons in the XFL
Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson was among a number of people to pay tribute to Smith
‘Your legacy lives on as a person who spread love with a smile. Love you bro.’
Russell Wilson Tweeted on Tuesday: RIP Chris Smith. Praying for your loved ones.’
Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson wrote on Twitter: ‘I was so sorry to hear this news. Heartbroken for Chris’ family. Our entire XFL universe sends it love, light and strength to the Smith family. Stay strong. We are here. DJ.’
Smith played for the XFL’s Seattle Sea Dragons this season. He previously spent eight seasons in the NFL with Jacksonville, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Las Vegas and Houston.
While Smith was with the Browns in 2019, his girlfriend, Petara Cordero, was killed when she was hit by a car after she exited the vehicle he was driving. Cordero was standing on the road’s shoulder when the vehicle driven by a 47-year-old woman smashed into the passenger side of Smith’s car.
‘Chris was one of the kindest players and people that I’ve ever met,’ Browns All-Pro defensive end Myles Garrett said. ‘He was willing to give you the shirt off his back for you. It’s hard just knowing people like that can go at any time.’
Smith and Cordero had a daughter shortly before Cordero’s death.
After playing at Arkansas, Smith was drafted by the Jaguars in the fifth round in 2014. He finished with 11 career sacks in 72 games.