Former Seahawks FB Steve Smith, better known for his years with the Los Angeles Raiders, is reportedly in good spirits despite suffering from Lou Gehrig's disease. I remember hearing of his diagnosis some time ago, but the Associated Press provides the latest in this story.
Smith retired from the Seahawks and the NFL in 1996, two years before I came onto the Seahawks beat, but I remember watching him block for Marcus Allen and Bo Jackson during his years with the Raiders.
Smith is 42. Because of the disease (formally called amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), Smith cannot speak. He needs a ventilator to breathe. Friends are raising money to pay for his care. That includes a percentage of profits from lithographs sold here. Smith lives in Texas with his wife and two teenage daughters.
Most ALS patients die within five years of experiencing symptoms, the story says. Smith was diagnosed in July 2002. He went from about 260 pounds to the 160 range, then back up to about 175 thanks to a feeding tube. A very sad story.