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


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.