Buffalo Bills (and Buffalo Sabres) president Russ Brandon announced in an appearance on WGR 550 on Wednesday morning that the team will be retiring its second jersey number this year: No. 78, worn by Hall of Fame defensive end Bruce Smith.
78. Forever Bruce Smith.— Buffalo Bills (@buffalobills) May 11, 2016
The Bills will retire the legend's number at our 2016 home opener! https://t.co/vDm3zPu9p1 pic.twitter.com/J5uRhA0mR7
The Bills will hold a halftime ceremony in their Thursday night, September 15 home opener against the New York Jets to officially retire the number, which no Bills player has worn since Smith's final season in Buffalo, 1999.
Smith, the NFL's all-time sacks leader and a Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee in 2009, was the No. 1 overall pick in the 1985 NFL Draft, and spent 15 of his 19 seasons playing for the Bills. In addition to the sack total (200, 171 of which came with the Bills) and the yellow jacket, Smith played in 11 Pro Bowls and was named a first-team All-Pro eight times, all of which happened while he was Buffalo.
No. 78 will be the second jersey number that the Bills have officially retired, following in the footsteps of the No. 12 donned by Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly. At some point, the Bills will also retire No. 34, worn by Hall of Fame running back Thurman Thomas. This year, however, is about Bruce.