Dallas Cowboys helmet.(Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
The Dallas Cowboys have had a slew of former players that have died this year and that upsetting trend continued this week.

Following the deaths of Golden Richards, Tony Hutson, and Char-Ron Dorsey, the Dallas Cowboys franchise is being hit hard once again after the announcement that former defensive lineman Don Smerek has passed away after a battle with cancer.

He was just 66 years old.

Don Smerek, a Cowboys defensive lineman from the 1980s with a vibrant personality, died on March 16th. The former All-Big Sky defensive end is survived by his wife, three brothers, sister, nieces, and nephews.

In 1981, Smerek, an undrafted free agent from Nevada, signed with the Cowboys. During his seven seasons with Dallas, he appeared in 69 games, four of which he started. His career total of sacks was 14.5.

His career started off slow as he appeared in just nine games from 1980-1982. However, Smerek became a key contributor for the Cowboys in 1983. He finished that season with a career-high six sacks.

He announced his retirement from the NFL in August of 1988.

Also Read: BREAKING: Former Dallas Cowboys Player Tragically Passed Away At Age 46

The family will hold a private memorial service in late March in Henderson, Nevada.

Man Was Arrested For Attempted Murder of Dallas Cowboys Defensive Lineman Don Smerek

Back in the early 1980s, a 26-year-old man was charged with attempted murder in the shooting of Dallas Cowboys defensive tackle Don Smerek, according to UPI.com.

The then 25-year-old Smerek identified the suspect from pictures as he lay in a hospital bed. A friend of his said Smerek and the suspect argued a right-of-way in a nightclub’s crowded parking lot. It led to Smerek being shot following his temper tantrum when he began pounding on the suspect’s car and demanding he get out and fight.

Kenneth Wayne Watson surrendered to police but would soon be back on the streets after posting a $3,500 bond.

A Dallas County grand jury ultimately decided to decline to indict him in that shooting as jurors believed there was sufficient evidence the shooting was in self-defense.