Tag Archives: rod smith

Smith, Rod (WR-DEN)


Cards: Playoff Prestige 2004 Xtra Points, Leaf Rookies & Stars 2004 (072/250), Playoff 2005
Acquired: TTM 2017, C/o Home
Sent: 1/20   Received: 3/10    (48 days)

Rod Smith is considered one of the greatest undrafted wide receiver free agent acquisitions in NFL history. After going unselected out of tiny Missouri Southern State in 1994, Rod signed with the Denver Broncos.  Rod spent the entirety of the 1994 season on the practice squad, while the Broncos were going through a slow overhaul at WR.

A gifted receiver who displayed eagerness and unyielding work ethic, Rod felt he had to work twice as hard as other players, because not only did he come from a Division II school, he had to work his way off the practice squad.  In 1995 he was promoted to the active roster, contributing primarily on special teams. In week 3, Rod posted his first reception- a 43 yard touchdown bomb from John Elway over the top of Darrell Green to win the game against the Redskins. The catch signaled the beginning of Rod’s arrival at the NFL stage. Throughout the 1995 season and the following year, Rod saw increased play time alongside Ed McCaffrey, as Anthony Miller was winding down.

Rod played his first full season in 1997. His ascension is critical in Broncos lore as he was able to help Denver win the Super Bowl in 1997 and 1998. Over the next 6 consecutive seasons he’d post over 1,000 yards receiving, including a career high 1,602 receiving yards in 2000, and 113 receptions in 2001. He’d also earn All Pro/Pro Bowl nods in both seasons. Rod made one more Pro Bowl appearance in 2005 after recording 85 receptions for 1105 yards and 6 TDs.

Rod was on pace for another banner season in 2006 but suffered a hip injury. In the end, Rod had to have his entire hip replaced in 2007, which ended the promising wide receiver’s career too soon, as he owned nearly the entire Broncos receiving record books. As fans sit there and debate, there is no question to me that if Smith’s career continued, he’d be a shoo in for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. His numbers and wins for a receiver are on par with that of Jerry Rice. Unfortunately there is a logger jam of players at receiver going back years that may curtail his induction.

In 2008, Rod was inducted into the Division II Football Hall of Fame. Soon thereafter, he also received honors from the College Football Hall of Fame (2009) and the Denver Broncos Ring of Honor (2012).
I was surprised to get Rod’s autograph on these cards. He also included a business card of his new self-help book, ‘The Rod Effect’ , which charts his life from rags to success outside of football.

G/Gs 183/125    REC  849    YDS 11389    AVG  13.4     TD 68    LG 85T

Smith, Rod (DB)

Card: Star Pics 1992
Acquired: TTM 1993, Patriots Blitz

I got Rod’s autograph as part of a blitz of the New England Patriots back in the early 90s. He signed the card and put “Go Irish!” on it.  Drafted in the second round of the 1992 draft, Rod was a bit undersized at 5’11”, but made up for it with his explosive hitting and speed. A track man, Smith possessed great closing speed and was once clocked at 6.35 in the 55.  During his time with the Irish, Smith even took some time in starting 7 games at strong safety, but would see his time in the NFL at corner. He made one pick his rookie year for the Patsies in 1992, and 2 in 1994, playing mainly on special-teams.

In 1995, Rod was left exposed by the Patriots and was selected by the Carolina Panthers in their expansion draft. He was the Panthers’ first selection. Smith would sign with the Vikings in 1996, but quickly returned to the Panthers during that season. He’d make 2 interceptions in 1998 and finish out the season with the Packers where he retired after the season.

Since retiring, Smith has done some charity work, was the President of the Alumni Chapter of NFL players in the Carolina area, and recently appeared at a NASCAR Track Walk event as the Grand Marshall in 2011.

(Rod Smith from Notre Dame is not to be confused with the CB with the same name drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in the 1st round during the 80s or the WR drafted by the Denver Broncos in 1994.)

G/Gs  102/27     Tac 225    Sac 1.5    Fum 1   Int 5     Yds  53    Avg  10.6     Td 0     Lg 43