Highland Park NFL vet taps into artistic side post-retirement

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HIGHLAND PARK -

With a career in pro football in the past, a New Jersey native has moved on to a more delicate hobby.

L.J. Smith is originally from Highland Park and played at Rutgers University before embarking on a seven-year NFL career, playing with the Philadelphia Eagles and the Baltimore Ravens.

These days, Smith taps into his artistic skills, something he found interest in since the first grade.

Smith retired from football at 30 years old in 2009 and was looking for what was next. He credits his wife Jessica for helping him find the answer.

The tight end’s career included a touchdown catch in Super Bowl 39.

Smith has faced adversity throughout his life. His parents divorced when he was 11 years old, his family moved into low-income housing and he almost failed out of Rutgers.

Since then, Smith got his college degree and continues to tap into his artistic talents in post-retirement life.

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