TIMELINE: Will Smith's life and career

TIMELINE: Will Smith's life and career

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Former Saints player Will Smith was shot to death April 9 after a crash in the Lower Garden District. His wife was also injured by gunfire. New Orleans police arrested Cardell Hayes and charged him with murder following the incident. Below is a timeline of Will Smith's life and career.

July 4, 1981

Will Smith is born on the Fourth of July in Queens, New York to father William and mother Lisa Smith. He grows up in Utica, New York and is a USA Today All-American football player in high school.


Smith begins attending Ohio State where he plays football as a defensive end until 2003. He earns four varsity letters with the football team.

January 3, 2003

Ohio State defeats Miami in the Fiesta Bowl, making them the 2002 NCAA Division 1-A national football champions.

April 24, 2004

Smith is selected 18th overall in the 2004 draft by the New Orleans Saints.

2004 through 2014

Smith plays for the New Orleans Saints for all ten years of his NFL career.


Smith marries his wife, Racquel.


Smith is arrested for public intoxication and battery after an altercation with his wife outside a Louisiana night club. Both parties claim it is a misunderstanding, and the charges are dropped.

September 2011

Smith serves a two-game suspension and is fined two game checks for a 2008 violation of the NFL's substance-abuse policy that has made its way through the courts for the past few years.

Beginning of 2012 NFL season

Smith and three other Saints are suspended four games for their role in the New Orleans Saints bounty scandal, in which players were reportedly paid bonuses for targeting or intentionally hurting opposing players. The suspensions are later lifted.

August 25, 2013

Smith tears his ACL and is placed on the Saints' season-ending injured reserve.

February 12, 2014

Smith is released by the Saints.

April 9, 2016

Smith and his wife are shot by Cardell Hayes in a road-rage incident in New Orleans, LA. Smith dies at the scene, and his wife is rushed to the hospital.

April 12, 2016

The New Orleans Police Department announces that Smith was carrying a loaded firearm in his vehicle at the time of his death. Footage also surfaces appearing to show Smith committing a hit-and-run on Hayes' car.

April 13, 2016

Smith's family attorney announces that Smith was shot eight times (including seven in the back) after his Mercedes was intentionally rammed by his killer's vehicle. He also said that Smith never brandished the weapon that was in his possession.

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