General Session Speaker

Bruce Smith

NFL Hall of Famer, Real Estate Developer
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Bruce is one of the greatest defensive players in NFL history, best known for his 16 seasons with the Buffalo Bills followed by a stint with the Washington Redskins to end his 19-year playing career. After winning the Outland Trophy (awarded to the best interior lineman in college football) and being named a two-time All-American at Virginia Tech, Bruce was selected by the Buffalo Bills with the first overall pick in the 1985 NFL Draft. His rare combination of size and speed made him one of the most difficult defensive players to block, leading him to become the NFL’s All-Time Sack Leader. In 13 of his 19 seasons, Bruce achieved double-digit sacks (an NFL record) and became a cornerstone of the Bills franchise.

Bruce finished his career as an 11x Pro Bowler, 9x First-Team All-Pro, 2x NFL Defensive Player of the Year, and was named a member of the NFL 100th Anniversary All-Time Team. In addition to his record-setting sack total of 200, Bruce’s defensive impact helped lead the Bills to four consecutive Super Bowls. His contributions to the game are recognized by his induction to the Buffalo Bills Wall of Fame, as well as the retirement of his jersey number 78. After retiring from football in 2003, Bruce was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2009, cementing himself as one of the NFL’s greatest defensive players.

Following his football career, Bruce has been heavily involved in real estate development, including commercial and residential projects across his home state of Virginia. One of his biggest projects as of late has been his involvement in the casino project in Petersburg, Virginia, which aims to increase tourism and create economic opportunities in the area. Additionally, he has invested in multiple real estate developments in Virginia Beach, highlighting his commitment to bettering the community.