Malcolm Smith (American Football)
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Malcolm Smith American Football

Malcolm Smith
refer to caption
Smith with the Oakland Raiders in 2015
No. 56 - Cleveland Browns
Personal information
Born: (1989-07-05) July 5, 1989 (age 31)
Woodland Hills, California
Height:6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)
Weight:225 lb (102 kg)
Career information
High school:William Howard Taft
(Woodland Hills, California)
NFL Draft:2011 / Round: 7 / Pick: 242
Career history
Roster status:Active
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics as of Week 8, 2020
Player stats at PFR

Malcolm Xavier Smith[1] (born July 5, 1989) is an American football linebacker for the Cleveland Browns of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at USC. He was drafted by the Seattle Seahawks in the seventh round of the 2011 NFL Draft. Smith was named the Most Valuable Player of Super Bowl XLVIII after they defeated the Denver Broncos.

High school career

Smith attended William Howard Taft High School, where he was a letterman in football and track.[2] In football, he was named to the Student Sports Sophomore All-American and Cal-Hi Sports All-State first team as a 2004 sophomore when he had 800-plus yards of total offense and 8 touchdowns, plus 2 interceptions, as Taft won the L.A. City title. As a junior in 2005, he made Cal-Hi Sports All-State Underclass first team, All-L.A. City first team and Los Angeles Daily News All-Area first team while making 41 tackles, 2 sacks and 1 fumble recovery, plus running for 639 yards on 73 carries (8.8 avg.) with 10 touchdowns and catching 27 passes for 411 yards (15.2 avg.) with 7 scores as Taft was the L.A. City runnerup. In his final year in 2006, he had 31 tackles, 10 sacks, and four fumble recoveries at linebacker and ran for 919 yards on 118 carries with 15 touchdowns as a running back, despite missing the first half of the season with a leg injury.[3]

Also a standout track athlete, Smith competed as a sprinter for the Taft High track & field team. He qualified for the Los Angeles City Section T&F Championships in the 100m and 200m dashes. He recorded a personal-best time of 10.8 seconds in the 100-meter dash as a junior, and got a PR of 22.39 seconds in the 200-meter dash as a senior. He also ran the 40-yard dash in 4.45 seconds.[3]

Smith received scholarship offers for football from Notre Dame, California, Arizona, Michigan, and Penn State.[4]

College career

Smith at USC in 2008

Smith enrolled at the University of Southern California (USC) in order to play college football for the USC Trojans football team. As a true freshman in 2007, Smith played in all 13 games as a backup linebacker and special teams player. He finished the year with six tackles and a forced fumble.

As a sophomore in 2008 he again spent time as a backup and on special teams. He finished the season with 18 tackles in 13 games.[3] In the 2009 game against cross-town rival UCLA Bruins, Smith led the Trojan defense for a 28-7 win. Smith returned the first UCLA interception 62 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter. For his play, Smith was awarded the "Legend Nike Game Ball" for the National Defensive Player of the Week.[5]

Professional career

Smith entered the 2011 NFL Draft, but did not receive an invitation to perform at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, Indiana. On March 30, 2011, Smith attended USC's pro day and performed all of the combine and positional drills for team representatives and scouts. He also attended private meetings with the Seattle Seahawks and Chicago Bears.[6] Smith was projected to be a sixth or seventh round pick by NFL draft experts and scouts. At the conclusion of the pre-draft process, Smith was ranked as the 29th best outside linebacker prospect in the draft by and was ranked the 37th best outside linebacker by Scouts Inc.[7]

Pre-draft measurables
Height Weight 40-yard dash 10-yard split 20-yard split 20-yard shuttle Three-cone drill Vertical jump Broad jump Bench press
6 ft 0 in
(1.83 m)
226 lb
(103 kg)
39 in
(0.99 m)
10 ft 5 in
(3.18 m)
All values from USC's Pro Day[8]

Seattle Seahawks

The Seattle Seahawks selected Smith in the seventh round (242nd overall) of the 2011 NFL Draft.[9] Smith was the 30th linebacker drafted in 2011 and reunited with Seattle Seahawks' head coach Pete Carroll.[10] Carroll was Smith's head coach at USC from 2008-2010.


On July 28, 2011, the Seattle Seahawks signed Smith to a four-year, $2.08 million contract that includes a signing bonus of $45,900.[11][12]

Throughout training camp, Smith competed to be a backup outside linebacker against K. J. Wright, Matt McCoy, and David Vobora.[13] Head coach Pete Carroll named Smith the backup weakside linebacker to start the regular season, behind Leroy Hill.[14]

He made his professional regular season debut in the Seattle Seahawks' season-opener at the San Francisco 49ers and made two combined tackles in their 33-17 loss. Smith made his first career regular season tackle on Ted Ginn Jr. and stopped him for a ten-yard loss during a punt return in the second quarter.[15] On November 13, 2011, Smith collected a season-high four solo tackles, forced a fumble, and made his first career sack during a 22-17 victory against the Baltimore Ravens. Smith forced a fumble by David Reed that was recovered by teammate Atari Bigby and led to a last second field goal before the end of the second quarter. He also sacked Ravens' quarterback Joe Flacco for an eight-yard loss in the fourth quarter.[16] Smith was inactive for the last two games of the regular season (Weeks 16-17).[17] He finished his rookie season in 2011 with 16 combined tackles (ten solo), a forced fumble, and a sack while appearing in 12 games with zero starts.[18] Smith received an overall grade of 52.1 from Pro Football Focus in 2012.[19]


During training camp, Smith competed for a roster spot as a backup outside linebacker against Jameson Konz, Allen Bradford, Heath Farwell, Mike Morgan, and Kyle Knox.[20][21] Defensive coordinator Gus Bradley retained Smith as a backup outside linebacker, behind Leroy Hill and K. J. Wright, to begin the regular season.[22] On December 2, 2012, Smith made his first career start and replaced Leroy Hill who was inactive due to an ankle injury.[23] He finished the Seahawks' 23-17 win at the Chicago Bears with two solo tackles.[24] In Week 16, he collected a season-high five combined tackles during a 42-13 victory against the San Francisco 49ers.[24] Smith completed the 2012 season with 22 combined tackles (12 solo) and two pass deflections in 16 games and three starts.[18] Smith was limited to 166 defensive snaps (16%), but played 258 snaps on special teams (60%).[25] Smith earned an overall grade of 77.0 from Pro Football Focus in 2012.[19]

The Seattle Seahawks finished second in the NFC West with an 11-5 record and earned a wildcard berth. On January 6, 2013, Smith appeared in his first career playoff game and recorded three solo tackles during the Seahawks' 24-14 win at the Washington Redskins in the NFC Wildcard Game.[24] The following week, he made three solo tackles as the Seahawks lost the NFC Divisional Round 30-28 at the Atlanta Falcons.[24]


Smith entered training camp slated as the starting weakside linebacker after the departure of Leroy Hill. Smith received competition from Korey Toomer, Bruce Irvin, Mike Morgan, and Allen Bradford.[26][27] Head coach Pete Carroll officially named Smith and K. J. Wright the starting outside linebackers to start the season, along with middle linebacker Bobby Wagner.[28]

He started in the Seattle Seahawks' season-opener at the Carolina Panthers and made two solo tackles in their 12-7 victory. Smith was sidelined for the Seahawks' Week 3 victory against the Jacksonville Jaguars due to a hamstring injury.[29] On October 17, 2013, Smith collected a season-high nine combined tackles, a pass deflection, and a sack during a 34-22 win at the Arizona Cardinals in Week 7. The following week, Smith was surpassed on the depth chart by Bruce Irvin who was named the starting strongside linebacker in his place.[30] Smith became the starting weakside linebacker in Week 15 after K. J. Wright sustained a fractured foot and was sidelined for the last three games of the regular season.[30] On December 22, 2013, Smith recorded eight combined tackles, a pass deflection, and made his first career interception during a 17-10 loss to the Arizona Cardinals in Week 16. Smith intercepted a pass attempt by Cardinals' quarterback Carson Palmer, that was originally intended for running back Andre Ellington, and returned it for a 32-yard gain in the second quarter.[31] In Week 17, Smith made five combined tackles, a pass deflection, and returned an interception for his first career touchdown in a 27-9 win against the St. Louis Rams. He intercepted a pass by Kellen Clemens, that was originally thrown to tight end Lance Kendricks, and returned it for a 37-yard touchdown in the first quarter.[32] Smith finished the 2013 season with 54 combined tackles (34 solo), four passes defensed, a forced fumble, one sack, an interception, and a touchdown in 15 games and eight starts.[18] Smith completed the season with 480 defensive snaps (46%) and 228 snaps on special teams (51%).[33]Pro Football Focus gave Smith an overall grade of 83.0 in 2013. His grade ranked 16th among the 56th qualifying linebackers in the league.[19]

The Seattle Seahawks finished first in the NFC West with a 13-3 record and earned a first round bye and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. On January 11, 2014, Smith started in his first career playoff game and made nine combined tackles during a 23-15 victory against the New Orleans Saints in the NFC Divisional Round. On January 19, 2014, Smith made four combined tackles, a pass deflection, and made an interception to seal the Seahawks' 23-17 victory against the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship Game. He intercepted a pass by quarterback Colin Kaepernick, that was intended for wide receiver Michael Crabtree. The pass was deflected by Richard Sherman and caught in the endzone for a touchback by Smith with the Seahawks up by six points with 30 seconds remaining.[5]

On February 2, 2014, Smith recorded ten combined tackles (six solo), deflected a pass, recovered a fumble, and returned an interception for a touchdown in the Seahawks' 43-8 victory against the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII. Smith intercepted a pass by quarterback Peyton Manning, that was intended for running back Knowshon Moreno, and returned it for a 69-yard touchdown in the second quarter.[34] He also recovered a fumble by wide receiver Demaryius Thomas in the third quarter after it was forced by teammate Byron Maxwell. His performance earned him the Super Bowl MVP award, making him the first defensive player to win the award since Dexter Jackson in Super Bowl XXXVII.[35] Smith is one of seven defensive players to win Super Bowl MVP honors.[36]


Smith returned to a reserve role in 2014 after the return of K. J. Wright from injury. Defensive coordinator Dan Quinn opted to retain Bruce Irvin, K. J. Wright and Bobby Wagner as the starting linebacker trio to start the regular season.[37][38] In Week 7, Smith earned his first start of the season after Bobby Wagner was inactive for five games (Weeks 7-11) due to a turf toe injury.[39] He finished the Seahawks' 28-26 loss at the St. Louis Rams with a season-high ten solo tackles.[18] Smith was inactive for two games (Weeks 9-10) due to a groin injury.[40] Smith finished the 2014 season with 38 combined tackles (28 solo), two forced fumbles, and a pass deflection in 14 games and five starts.[18] Smith played predominantly on special teams and finished the season with 255 snaps (59%) on special teams and 273 snaps (27%) on defense.[41]Pro Football Focus gave Smith an overall grade of 37.3, which marked the lowest grade of his career.[19]

The Seattle Seahawks finished first in the NFC West with a 12-4 record and secured a playoff berth. On January 18, 2015, the Seattle Seahawks played the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship Game after defeating the Carolina Panthers 31-17 in the NFC Divisional Round. Smith made two combined tackles as Seattle defeated the Packers 28-22.[42] On February 1, 2015, Smith appeared in Super Bowl XLIX, but was held without a stat as the New England Patriots defeated the Seattle Seahawks 28-24.[43]

Oakland Raiders


On March 10, 2015, the Oakland Raiders signed Smith to a two-year, $7 million contract with $3.75 million guaranteed and a signing bonus of $2 million.[11] Smith reunited with defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr., who was his linebackers coach from 2007-2009 at USC and from 2010-2014 with the Seattle Seahawks.[44][45][46]

Head coach Jack Del Rio named Smith the starting weakside linebacker to start the regular season, along with Ray-Ray Armstrong and starting middle linebacker Curtis Lofton.[47] On October 25, 2015, Smith had a season-high 11 solo tackles, two pass deflections, a sack, and an interception in the Raiders' 37-29 victory at the San Diego Chargers. Smith intercepted a pass by quarterback Philip Rivers, that was originally intended for wide receiver Stevie Johnson, and returned it for a 27-yard gain during the Chargers' opening drive.[48] In Week 16, Smith made a career-high 14 combined tackles (11 solo) during a 23-20 win against the San Diego Chargers. Smith started all 16 games in 2015 and made a career-high 122 combined tackles (99 solo), six passes defensed, and four sacks. He also had two forced fumbles and an interception.[49][18] Smith earned an overall grade of 44.3 from Pro Football Focus, which ranked 60th among all qualifying linebackers in 2015.[19]


Head coach Jack Del Rio retained Smith as the starting weakside linebacker to start 2016, along with Bruce Irvin and middle linebacker Ben Heeney.[50] Smith was inactive for the Raiders' Week 5 win against the San Diego Chargers due to a quadriceps injury.[51] In Week 11, Smith collected ten combined tackles (nine solo), made a pass deflection, and intercepted a pass by Brock Osweiler during a 27-20 victory against the Houston Texans in Mexico City.[52] On January 1, 2017, Smith recorded a season-high 12 combined tackles (nine solo) as the Raiders lost 24-6 at the Denver Broncos in Week 17. He finished the 2016 season with 103 combined tackles (86 solo), three pass deflections, two forced fumbles, and an interception in 15 games and 15 starts.[18] Smith's performance suffered in 2016 and he earned an overall grade of 46.3 from Pro Football Focus. His grade ranked 68th among 88 qualifying linebackers during the season.[53]

San Francisco 49ers

On March 9, 2017, the San Francisco 49ers signed Smith to a five-year, $26.50 million contract with $11.50 million guaranteed and a signing bonus of $7 million.[11][54]

Smith entered training camp slated as the starting right outside linebacker, but saw competition from rookie first round pick Reuben Foster. On August 5, 2017, Smith injured his pectoral during a training camp practice held in Levi's Stadium.[55] On August 7, 2017, the San Francisco 49ers officially placed Smith on injured reserve after an MRI determined he had suffered a torn pectoral muscle. He remained on injured reserve throughout the entire 2017 season.[56]

In 2018, he appeared in 12 games, tallying 35 tackles (22 solo) and one pass defensed. On August 27, 2019, Smith was released by the 49ers.[57]

Jacksonville Jaguars

On October 22, 2019, Smith was signed by the Jacksonville Jaguars.[58] He appeared in 2 games as a backup. He was released on November 5.

Dallas Cowboys

Smith with the Browns in 2020

On December 17, 2019, Smith was signed as a free agent by the Dallas Cowboys to provide depth because of injuries for the last 2 games, reuniting with his former defensive coordinator Kris Richard.[59] He appeared in 2 games with one start, registering 5 tackles and one forced fumble.

Cleveland Browns

Smith signed with the Cleveland Browns on August 23, 2020.[60]

In Week 3 against the Washington Football Team, Smith recorded his first interception as a Brown during the 36-20 win. This was Smith's first interception since 2016.[61]

Career statistics

2011 SEA 12 16 10 6 1.0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2012 SEA 16 22 12 10 0.0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 2
2013 SEA 15 54 34 20 1.0 1 0 0 2 69 37 1 4
2014 SEA 14 38 27 10 0.0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
2015 OAK 16 122 99 23 4.0 2 0 0 1 27 27 0 6
2016 OAK 15 103 86 17 0.0 2 1 1 1 0 0 0 3
2017 SF Did not play due to injury
2018 SF 12 35 22 13 0.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
2019 JAX-DAL 4 5 4 1 0.0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Career 104 395 295 100 6.0 10 3 8 4 96 37 1 17


Personal life

Smith's brother Steve Smith also attended USC from 2003 to 2006 and played wide receiver for the New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles, and the St. Louis Rams.[63]

Smith has achalasia, a rare disorder of esophagus which affects its ability to move food toward the stomach. It started to affect him around the time of the 2009 Rose Bowl, where he began losing a few pounds of body weight each week because food would get stuck in his esophagus and he would have to throw it up. The weight loss was a problem as Smith tried to keep his weight up to 230 pounds (100 kg). Originally diagnosed as acid reflux, further tests revealed the problem as achalasia. Smith underwent a surgical procedure called a Heller myotomy which helped somewhat, but he still has dietary restrictions that force him to eat very slowly.[64]


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  3. ^ a b c "Malcolm Smith - 2010 Football Roster - University of Southern California Official Athletic Site".
  4. ^ Langland, Tyson (April 3, 2014). "Meet the NFL's Super Bowl MVP, Malcolm Smith". Retrieved 2018.
  5. ^ a b "Who is Malcolm Smith? The MVP came that came from the unknown".
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  9. ^ " Blog - Seahawks add LB Smith in seventh round".
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  13. ^ Caple, Christian (August 26, 2011). "New Seahawks LB David Vobora has an interesting car". Retrieved 2018.
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  16. ^ "NFL Game Center: Week 10-2011: Baltimore Ravens @ Seattle Seahawks". Retrieved 2018.
  17. ^ "NFL Player stats: Malcolm Smith (2011)". Retrieved 2018.
  18. ^ a b c d e f g "NFL Player stats: Malcolm Smith (career)". Retrieved 2018.
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  22. ^ "2012 Seattle Seahawks season preview part 4: The defensive depth chart". September 7, 2012. Archived from the original on January 29, 2018. Retrieved 2018.
  23. ^ Zimmerman, Kevin (November 28, 2012). "Seahawks injury update: Red Bryant, Leroy Hill out of Wednesday practice". Retrieved 2018.
  24. ^ a b c d "NFL Player stats: Malcolm Smith (2012)". Retrieved 2018.
  25. ^ "Pro Football Reference: Seattle Seahawks Snap Count (2012)". Retrieved 2018.
  26. ^ Harbaugh, Ben (May 5, 2013). "Malcolm Smith: Now or Never". Retrieved 2018.
  27. ^ Wesseling, Chris (July 10, 2013). "Bruce Irvin to play linebacker for Seattle Seahawks". Retrieved 2018.
  28. ^ " Seattle Seahawks Depth Chart: 09/05/2013". Retrieved 2018.
  29. ^ " Malcolm Smith Injury". Retrieved 2018.
  30. ^ a b "Smith stepping into important role for Seahawks". December 13, 2013. Retrieved 2018.
  31. ^ "NFL Game Center: Week 16-2013: Arizona Cardinals @ Seattle Seahawks". Retrieved 2018.
  32. ^ "NFL Game Center: Week 17-2013: St. Louis Rams @ Seattle Seahawks". Retrieved 2018.
  33. ^ "Pro Football Reference: Seattle Seahawks Snap Count (2013)". Retrieved 2018.
  34. ^ "NFL Game Center: Week 20-2013: Denver Broncos @ Seattle Seahawks". Retrieved 2018.
  35. ^ "Malcolm Smith, Super Bowl MVP, leads 'bunch of misfits'".
  36. ^
  37. ^ Shpigel, Ben (February 8, 2018). "Malcolm Smith Goes From M.V.P. to Capable Reserve on Seahawks' Deep Roster" – via
  38. ^ "Seahawks release updated depth chart". August 30, 2014. Retrieved 2016.
  39. ^ "Seattle Seahawks' Bobby Wagner out for couple of weeks with injury". October 15, 2014. Retrieved 2018.
  40. ^ si wire (October 31, 2014). "Seahawks linebacker Malcolm Smith out vs. Raiders". Retrieved 2018.
  41. ^ "Pro Football Reference: Seattle Seahawks Snap Count (2014)". Retrieved 2018.
  42. ^ "NFL Player stats: Malcolm Smith (2014)". Retrieved 2018.
  43. ^ "Seahawks' Malcolm Smith ready to end his reign as Super Bowl MVP".
  44. ^ Orr, Conor. "Malcolm Smith expected to sign with Oakland Raiders". Retrieved 2015.
  45. ^ "Raiders Sign LB Malcolm Smith". March 11, 2015. Archived from the original on May 25, 2015. Retrieved 2015.
  46. ^ Damien, Levi (March 11, 2015). "Malcolm Smith officially signed by Oakland Raiders". Retrieved 2018.
  47. ^ Damien, Levi (September 8, 2015). "Raiders release depth chart for 2015 regular season opener". Retrieved 2018.
  48. ^ "NFL Game Center: Week 7-2015: Oakland Raiders @ San Diego Chargers". Retrieved 2018.
  49. ^ "Malcolm Smith Talks 2016, Addition Of Bruce Irvin". Archived from the original on February 1, 2018. Retrieved 2016.
  50. ^ "Raiders release 'official' depth chart for the Falcons' game". September 14, 2016. Retrieved 2018.
  51. ^ " Malcolm Smith Injury History". Retrieved 2018.
  52. ^ "NFL Player stats: Malcolm Smith (2016)". Retrieved 2018.
  53. ^ "49ers LB Smith out for year with torn pectoral". August 6, 2017. Retrieved 2018.
  54. ^ "49ers Agree to Terms with Seven Free Agents". March 9, 2017. Archived from the original on December 14, 2017.
  55. ^ Bergman, Jeremy (August 5, 2017). "Niners LB Malcolm Smith (pectoral) out for season".
  56. ^ Wagoner, Nick (August 7, 2017). "MRI confirms 49ers' Malcolm Smith suffered torn pectoral in practice". Retrieved 2018.
  57. ^ "49ers Sign WR Nick Williams, Release LB Malcolm Smith". August 27, 2019.
  58. ^ "Jaguars Sign Two Linebackers to Active Roster". October 22, 2019.
  59. ^ Phillips, Rob (December 17, 2019). "Gifford To IR; Cowboys Sign LB For Depth".
  60. ^ "Browns sign LB Malcolm Smith". August 23, 2020. Retrieved 2020.
  61. ^ "Washington Football Team at Cleveland Browns - September 27th, 2020". Retrieved 2020.
  62. ^ "Malcolm Smith Stats". ESPN Internet Ventures. Retrieved 2016.
  63. ^ "Steve Smith - 2006 Football Roster - University of Southern California Official Athletic Site".
  64. ^ Michael Lev, USC's Malcolm Smith tackles rare disorder Archived May 4, 2011, at the Wayback Machine August 19, 2010, accessed May 1, 2011.

External links

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