Neil Smith made a lot of big plays in his 13-year NFL career, but on Tuesday he made a huge save.
Smith, now 51, rescued a pregnant woman from waist-deep flood waters in Missouri after her car stalled.
The area around Lee’s Summit, Missouri, which is about 20 miles southeast of Kansas City, where Smith played the bulk of his career, has experienced incredibly heavy rainfall this week, leading to flash flooding in some areas.
The parking lot at Voy Spears Elementary School was underwater, leading some students to have to be bussed in from an alternate route on Tuesday morning. By the end of the school day, the water had receded enough for most parents to pick up their children.
But one route remained closed, and the woman Smith rescued – she declined to be interviewed for a Fox 4 Kansas City news story – ignored the barricade intended to keep drivers off Anderson Drive.
Her minivan got caught in rising water, and Smith waded through the deep water to aid her.
“When I came out there this lady, she was driving and I couldn’t believe she was in there and she just got to the point where the car stalled,” Smith said. “I don’t know if she had kids, because she was about nine-months pregnant and she was very short, so I had to walk her out of there.”
“I was just right in the right place at the right time,” he said, but added that drivers need to heed warnings like the one the woman he rescued avoided. “People tell you do not go around those barricades when you see water, just stop turn around.”
Smith who was listed at 6-foot-4, 270 pounds during his playing days, was the second overall pick of the 1988 draft after a stellar career at Nebraska. He spent the first nine years of his career with the Chiefs, earning five Pro Bowl berths and one first-team All-Pro nod. In a four-year stretch, from 1992-95, Smith totaled 53.0 sacks.
He spent the 1997-99 seasons with the Chiefs’ rival, the Denver Broncos, and won two Super Bowl rings and added a sixth Pro Bowl appearance. Smith finished his career in 2000 with a third AFC West team, the San Diego Chargers.
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