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Portland State football player Kyle Smith dies

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Portland State, an FCS football team, had a 90-minute scrimmage on Friday. The scrimmage was a way of healing as their teammate, offensive lineman Kyle Smith died on Wed. night.

The 22-year-old from Elmira, Ore. died in his apartment, which was near campus. It’s a possible drug overdose, according to the Portland Police Department.

Smith had started 36 straight games in the past three seasons at left tackle. Last season, as a junior, he was selected on the all-Big Sky Conference second-team.

He’s the second Vikings player to die since the beginning of the year. On Jan. 17, the team also lost linebacker AJ Schlatter, who died following complications from throat cancer.

After Smith’s death, the team canceled practice on Thurs. The coaching staff gave the team an option to continue with its workouts — which they did.

“That is the power of sport,” head coach Bruce Barnum said. “It gave these guys a chance to get away from everything else and do what they love for 90 minutes. I was really pleased with what I saw out here.”

During their scrimmage, the team went through 75 plays. They’re expected to return to practice on Tuesday and wrap up on April 23rd with their annual spring game.

“We felt as a team the best way we could honor Kyle and AJ was by how we played on the football field,” Alex Kuresa, quarterback, said.

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