*Bubba Smith, the Pro Bowl defensive end who transitioned to acting after his NFL career, suffered with the brain disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) when he died researchers announced on Tuesday.
According to the AP, researchers at the VA-BU-CLF Brain Bank said Smith had Stage 3 CTE (Stage 4 is the most advanced) at the time of his death at age 66 in 2011. Smith was the 90th former NFL player out of the 94 brains studied where CTE was detected.
“Prior to his death, Smith was reported to have developed significant cognitive decline, including memory impairment and poor judgment,” researchers said in a news release. “He was also unable to complete many tasks of daily living on his own, such as paying bills, shopping, or traveling.”
The VA-BU-CLF Brain Bank is collaboration between three entities: the Department of Veterans Affairs, Boston University, and the Concussion Legacy Foundation.
Smith spent 10 seasons in the NFL, most notably with the Baltimore Colts. He played in both Super Bowl III, where the Colts lost to the New York Jets, and also in Baltimore’s defeat of the Dallas Cowboys in Super Bowl V.
After his retirement following the 1976 season with the Houston Oilers, Smith began his acting career. He appeared in several Miller Lite commercials before his biggest role as Moses Hightower in six “Police Academy” movies.