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Aldon Smith passes Reggie White as fastest NFL player to 30 sacks

reggiewhite Getty Images

If you’re an NFL pass rusher, it doesn’t get much better than hearing yourself compared to Reggie White. So consider this item the ultimate praise for 49ers linebacker Aldon Smith.

On Sunday in New Orleans, Smith was credited with 1.5 sacks, which gives him 30.5 sacks in his NFL career. That made Smith, who was playing in his 27th NFL game on Sunday, the fastest player to reach 30 sacks since the NFL began keeping sacks as an official statistic in 1982. The previous record holder was White, who recorded 30 sacks in his first 28 NFL games.

Smith is only 23 years old. White, who played two seasons for the Memphis Showboats of the United States Football League before going to the Eagles in the NFL, was two years older than Smith when he recorded his 30th NFL sack. So could Smith some day threaten White’s career total of 198 sacks, and Bruce Smith’s all-time NFL record of 200 sacks?

It’s possible, although the list of players who were the fastest to 30 sacks also includes Shawne Merriman, who got his 30th sack in his 31st NFL game but has just 15.5 sacks in 40 games over five seasons since then. Smith is off to perhaps the best start to a career that any NFL pass rusher has ever had. Time will tell whether he can go on to become a player worthy of being mentioned alongside Reggie White.

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52 Responses to “Aldon Smith passes Reggie White as fastest NFL player to 30 sacks”
  1. skoobyfl says: Nov 26, 2012 12:55 PM

    Health willing, he’ll be there.

  2. joetoronto says: Nov 26, 2012 12:57 PM

    “The list of players who were the fastest to 30 sacks also includes Shawne Merriman, who got his 30th sack in his 31st NFL game but has just 15.5 sacks in 40 games over five seasons since then.”

    Was Adderall even around back then?

  3. smcgaels1997 says: Nov 26, 2012 12:58 PM

    He’s a beast..he doesn’t look all that much as he’s tall and lanky but he’s consistently pancaking O lineman each week

  4. makinghtmlcodeforfacebook says: Nov 26, 2012 12:58 PM

    Reggie, Reggie, Reggie!!!

  5. mikeinsanfran says: Nov 26, 2012 12:59 PM

    99 Problems and Aldon is #1

  6. blacknole08 says: Nov 26, 2012 1:00 PM

    I don’t think Aldon Smith will break the great Reggie White’s record. I think some of Smith’s success has alot to do with Justin Smith and Ray McDonald doing their job up front as well. Reggie White was a beast and did all the dirty work too.

    Not saying that he isn’t spectacular — he is clearly a top tier pass rusher — but he’s purely a pass rusher.

  7. 1phd says: Nov 26, 2012 1:04 PM

    And he wasn’t even a full time player his entire first season.

  8. rd3777 says: Nov 26, 2012 1:04 PM

    With Kaepernick at QB,Aldon is a lock to break Whites record. The 49ers have the ability now to start fast and let the defense pin their ears back and Brooks is starting to shine too! Awesome defense with great talent.

  9. moseszd says: Nov 26, 2012 1:05 PM

    Merriman was a juicer, not a talent. When he got taken off the juice, his real talent showed.

  10. supremekingz says: Nov 26, 2012 1:06 PM

    Go Niners!!! Back to making history again!

  11. mataug says: Nov 26, 2012 1:06 PM

    he has two games against the Cardinals every year, that’s a big advantage

  12. direwolf748 says: Nov 26, 2012 1:08 PM

    and everyone thought the niners reached on this draft pick

  13. surferbum01 says: Nov 26, 2012 1:11 PM

    Boom! Not bad for an “overrated” defense as some have said. Congrats Aldon. Glad you’re on #49ers.

  14. broncobeta says: Nov 26, 2012 1:11 PM

    Dude is a great finisher. The Miller vs. Smith debate is awesome cooler talk.

  15. ninerdynasty says: Nov 26, 2012 1:15 PM

    The difference between Aldon and Shawn is that Shawn was Roided up like Lance Armstrong.. Aldon’s physic overmatches Merriman’s and is not even close. If Aldon can stayed motivated he will have no issues getting close to more sack records..

  16. djbleedthestar says: Nov 26, 2012 1:17 PM

    Its easy for these young guys to peak quickly and then not produce at a steady level. Take JPP for example, supposedly one of the best and is having an off year compared to last year. Jared Allen and D-Ware have had the most consistency at both being good run-stoppers and pass rushers

  17. norcalmafia says: Nov 26, 2012 1:17 PM

    I remember cussing the Niners when they picked this guy on draft day…I kept yelling ….WHo?….Who?….lol…..

  18. iloveflorio says: Nov 26, 2012 1:19 PM

    Only difference is teams didn’t pass 50 times a game when Reggie played! And he actually did other things than just rush the qb!!

  19. dseiler49 says: Nov 26, 2012 1:19 PM

    Hey mataug, hate to burst your bubble here…but prior to 2002 the Cardinals were in the NFC east, so Reggie had 2 games a year against the Cardinals as well.

  20. tennis22drew says: Nov 26, 2012 1:20 PM

    I can still see all the draft experts’ shock at not taking a WR at this pick and calling this a reach. Hopefully Aldon matures a bit though, whenever I see his name in a story I’m afraid he did something stupid (again)

  21. mmsierra says: Nov 26, 2012 1:20 PM

    Not to rain on the parade, but …..

    Part of Alson’s effectiveness is having Justin Smith at DE
    The 49ers will have to take a real look at the DL this next draft
    I think we’re a little thin along the DL
    We seem to be stocked everywhere else

  22. JLB says: Nov 26, 2012 1:21 PM

    Good job to Smith! He has been off to a great start!!

  23. billhicks666 says: Nov 26, 2012 1:25 PM

    direwolf748 says:

    “and everyone thought the niners reached on this draft pick”

    A lot of draft pundits did indeed think that Smith was a reach so high, but not the Houston Texans. The Texans coveted Smith as much as the Niners but had to “settle” for JJ Watt. Nice consolation prize!

  24. oaktown49er says: Nov 26, 2012 1:29 PM

    Aldon does more than rush the passer. My only complaint is that he was in that car that hit the deer. Yes….he wasn’t driving….exactly my point….he could have easily rip moved out of the car and bull rushed the deer out of the road. Keep up the good work.

  25. circuscivics says: Nov 26, 2012 1:31 PM

    Well Smith should be able to challenge Reggie White’s sack record. Not only because he is younger than Reggie was at this point in his career, but he is also getting more opportunities for sacks considering the increase in passing attempts by NFL teams. Back in Reggies day, the NFL was mostly composed of run heavy offenses, or at the minimum, more balanced offenses. Now you regularly see guys chuck it 40-50 times per game.

  26. niner13 says: Nov 26, 2012 1:32 PM

    My bad, Miller plays in AFC. No coffee yet.

  27. boyshole25 says: Nov 26, 2012 1:33 PM

    One trick pony though let’s see him do something besides rush the passer. Oh and ill def take him on redskins roster

  28. richiesaurus310 says: Nov 26, 2012 1:34 PM

    I was just glad we drafted Aldon and not his teammate… Blaine Gabbert

  29. schmitty2 says: Nov 26, 2012 1:35 PM

    rd3777 says:Nov 26, 2012 1:04 PM

    With Kaepernick at QB,Aldon is a lock to break Whites record. The 49ers have the ability now to start fast and let the defense pin their ears back and Brooks is starting to shine too! Awesome defense with great talent.

    So you’re assuming

    1. Kaepernick is the new franchise qb after a whopping 2 games and that he will be there for years and years

    2. That Smith will keep up this rate for years and years

    That’s a LOT of assuming

  30. eaglesw00t says: Nov 26, 2012 1:38 PM

    Aldon Smith is a fantastic player. I would be thrilled with my defense if the Eagles had both Smiths, Bowman and Willis.

    Its possible that Aldon will end up with more over his career, but I honestly believe Reggie was the greatest DE of all time. He lost 2 seasons to the USFL, and would have had 25 more over his career had he gotten those 2 years.

    And not only could Reggie rush the passer, but he played the run from the left side extremely well.

    I will forever hate Norman Braman for not keeping Reggie. You dont give up a once in a lifetime player without even giving the guy an offer.

    RIP Reggie and Jerome, 2 alltime fantastic players

  31. trollhammer20 says: Nov 26, 2012 1:40 PM

    A very talented player, yes, but right now, how many sacks are coming as a result of Justin Smith bull-rushing and Aldon using the fact Justin commands a double-team to cut inside and get a free shot at the QB?

    Aldon Smith, Willis, and Bowman put up the sack and tackle numbers, but the best player on the defense is Justin Smith.

  32. bobhk says: Nov 26, 2012 1:47 PM

    blacknole08 says:
    Nov 26, 2012 1:00 PM
    I don’t think Aldon Smith will break the great Reggie White’s record. I think some of Smith’s success has alot to do with Justin Smith and Ray McDonald doing their job up front as well. Reggie White was a beast and did all the dirty work too.

    Not saying that he isn’t spectacular — he is clearly a top tier pass rusher — but he’s purely a pass rusher.
    ———-
    Hardly. He’s playing all 3 downs and is good at stopping the run. Remember he’s only in his second season. We know he has a long way to go before being compared to White but he’s off to a great start.

  33. turboreattore says: Nov 26, 2012 1:50 PM

    Aldon Smith is a great player, but he’s not even close to Reggie White. White was a 4-3 Dlineman who was double teamed if not triple, every single play, both in passing and running game and he made all those sacks anyway. Aldon Smith is a 3-4 pass rushing LB who plays more than half of the snap near Justin Smith who is always double teamed allowing Aldon to go almost untouched to the QB. Last week tv analyst showed perfectly how Justin Smith made his move to allow Aldon to go often to the QB untouched. Not to mention that it was almost impossible to run against Reggie, instead Aldon is not so good in run stopping.

  34. Nevis says: Nov 26, 2012 1:54 PM

    But, the Niners “reached” for him. They should have drafted Gabbert, they said.

    They also erred when they moved up for Kaepernick.

    Remember all this when AJ Jenkins and LaMichael James get their opportunities, who were also questioned picks by pundits.

  35. kgbdk says: Nov 26, 2012 2:07 PM

    You can give half the credit for most of Aldon’s sacks to Justin Smith. Together they form a lethal rushing attack without needing an extra man to blitz like most teams, allowing extra DB’s to drop back into coverage, blanketing potential receivers…then a QB sits in the pocket, scratching his head just before getting crushed like a tin can by the Smith Bros. But Aldon can do far more than sack the QB. Watch a running back try to bounce outside of Aldon on the edge. Not even Adrian Peterson can get away from his freakish range. If Aldon doesn’t contain, you know that Bowman or Willis will be there.

  36. mrlynch33 says: Nov 26, 2012 2:18 PM

    I loved the Aldon Smith draft pick by the Niners. Believe it or not its because before the draft, NFL network had a segment with both Von Miller & Aldon and they were both saying they think they are the best pass rushers coming out. It’s a friendly competition between the two and hopefully it keeps them both motivated

  37. nesuperfan says: Nov 26, 2012 2:21 PM

    Only 6.5 more this season to break Strahan’s single season record. If you are Aldon Smith, it is looking pretty good to fall.

  38. thereisfootballwestofjersey says: Nov 26, 2012 2:28 PM

    If you don’t know by now, Niner GM Trent Balke is the league’s premier talent evaluator. Under his watch the Niners have produced the following draft picks – Bowman, Kaepernick, Aldon Smith, Bruce Miller, Kendall Hunter, and the list goes on.

    I remember Niner fans as well as the Bay Area media whining and complaining they wanted Michael Lombardi instead of Balke…LMAO

  39. lbcoach34 says: Nov 26, 2012 2:31 PM

    Passing league means more opportunities -

  40. cosanostra71 says: Nov 26, 2012 2:45 PM

    To those who say he is just a pass rusher in this comment section.. He has made strides in the run game this year. He is becoming well balanced. Just enjoy watching him, he’s such a great player.

  41. redwoodking says: Nov 26, 2012 2:51 PM

    Just watching him, he is gonna be a playmaker for a while. Unlike Bruce Irving, Aldon is a 3 down LB who plays the run really well. Watching him hold a tackle in place and grab a RB is a thing of beauty.

    I love watching the best LB core in football.

  42. sschmiggles says: Nov 26, 2012 3:24 PM

    He’s a great player, but you can’t just look at sacks. Reggie White got there in a league that didn’t pass nearly as much as they do now.

  43. 93warchant says: Nov 26, 2012 3:28 PM

    you do know aldon is 6 foot 5 and stronger than people think. he set a school record for sacks as a freshman at mizzu. he is speed power and relentless all in one package and as a 49er fan I’m glad he’s become elite so fast….. p.s. the all-time sack record doesnt belong to Reggie White it belongs to Bruce Smith. 200 career sacks.

  44. Andre's Johnson says: Nov 26, 2012 3:48 PM

    Take a look at the current NFL leaders in sacks. The top three are from last year’s draft class. And fourth place isn’t particularly close.

    Those GM’s knew what they were doing at the top of last year’s first round.

  45. judsonjr says: Nov 26, 2012 4:25 PM

    As a Packer fan he reminds me of Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila, they both had the long lean body type with a lot of speed.

    Two things killed KGB after he racked up 50+ sacks in his first 4 full seasons. #1 was that he was a bit of a liability against the run. #2 was that he was only good when the Packers were good. Once the Packers were playing from behind in ’05, 06, and ’08 he wasn’t that helpful because the other teams were not in a situation where they were forced to pass. He was still a very good situational pass rusher until he suffered a knee injury.

    Aldon on the other hand seems to be a competent run defender. I guess his success will probably be predicated on:

    Can he keep it going when Justin Smith retires? Can he stay healthy for that many years? Can the Niners keep up their success, which in turn forces the other team into must-pass situations.

  46. crazysamoan says: Nov 26, 2012 4:28 PM

    @iloveflorio

    That’s funny I don’t ever remember Reggie dropping back covering TE’s and RB’s. A bunch of pocket passers back in his day. Randall was scrambler way ahead of his time. Give Aldon his props.

  47. cags777 says: Nov 26, 2012 4:30 PM

    Great player. I just hope he avoids trouble and stays away from the wrong crowd in order to help his career flourish.

  48. tindeaux says: Nov 26, 2012 5:02 PM

    Merriman? this article should add an (*) denoting that “while Merriman was still on juice”

  49. hmpennypacker says: Nov 26, 2012 5:05 PM

    Aldon’s a beast! If the team we have can be kept together and the drafting is done right I can see another decade of multiple super bowls. It’s been too long and I don’t see a team in the NFC who can stop us, Giants included!
    49ers – Pats would make for a great super bowl I think. Would love to see how we match up against Brady and Belichick.

  50. vikescry1 says: Nov 26, 2012 8:14 PM

    aldons a beast no doubt, let’s wait a few more years before we compare him to reggie white. no offense but reggie was more than just a pass rusher. that meaning a run stuffer a leader on and off the field. give him a few more years he seems to have a chance to be great though. time will tell.

  51. themagicfanguy says: Nov 26, 2012 9:26 PM

    Aldon is a very, very good pass rusher. I would love to have him on the Pack opposite of Mathews. However, to compare him to White is one of the dumbest things I’ve ever heard. Aldon is still a little too inconsistent stopping the run and covering TE’s much of the time. Plus, due to the higher amount of passing in today’s league he gets many more opportunities to rush the passer. PLUS, he has Willis, Bowman, and J. Smith playing right next to him. The Minister could wreck the O-line by himself.

  52. baymac408 says: Nov 27, 2012 12:20 AM

    Straight up Aldon is a beast!! He will go down as a great !! Shout out to Justin Smith for constantly commanding double team and moving bodies wherever he wants!! These 2 Aldon and Justin Smith pull the best d line stunt in the game today!! Lets GET IT NINERS!!

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