A person familiar with the situation says New Orleans outside linebacker Will Smith, one of the Saints' top pass-rushers during the past nine seasons, has a knee injury that will sideline him for the 2013 season.
The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the team has not commented publicly on Smith's injury, which was first reported by the website Pro Football Talk.
Smith, a former first-round draft choice, spent his first nine seasons as a defensive end and this year switched to outside linebacker in new defensive coordinator Rob Ryan's 3-4 scheme. Smith was a projected starter, as was fellow outside linebacker Victor Butler, who also is recovering from knee surgery that will sideline him most or all of the season.
Smith graduated from Proctor High School in Utica.