Gerald 'Jerry' Thomas Smith was a professional American football player, playing tight end for the NFL Washington Redskins from 1965-1977.
Playing for Otto Graham and George Allen's Redskins, Smith had a stellar career. He played in the 1973 Super Bowl VII, and Sports Illustrated called him 'an outstanding receiver among tight ends, with the ability to break open for a long gain.' In his career Smith caught 421 passes, including 60 touchdowns, a record for Tight Ends at the time. He was named All-Pro twice and held several NFL records that stood for years.
Smith died of AIDS in October 1986. Although he acknowledged that he had AIDS, he never publicly acknowledged his homosexual activities. Smith's sexuality was disclosed after his death by a friend, confidant, and former team mate, pro NFL football player David Kopay, who had come out of the closet years earlier.