Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Player Spotlight (Edition 1): Rod Smith, Denver Broncos

To pass the time during the lockout, I've decided that a couple times a week I will be featuring a different former NFL player. Exploring not only his prolonged career as a player in the league, but also my take on what I thought of him, adding in personal opinions on watching him play and how he impacted this league.

Edition No. 1 will feature former Denver Broncos' wideout Rod Smith.

First of all, I would just like to point out that Smith celebrated his 41st birthday two days ago. Happy belated birthday, Rod! Second of all, the long-time Denver Bronco will be eligible for the Hall of Fame next year.

After going undrafted in the 1994 NFL draft, the New England Patriots signed Smith. Shortly after the signing he was released, Denver quickly picked him up and the rest is history. In 12 glorious seasons gracing the Denver uniform, Smith accumulated over 11,000 yards and 68 touchdowns.
Smith became the only undrafted player in NFL history to surpass 10,000 receiving yards. Going down as one of the franchise's greatest receivers, Smith owns the team record for career receptions (849), yards (11,389) and touchdowns (68) in 183 games.

He was only named to three Pro Bowl rosters, but consistently put up over 1,000 receiving yards eight times over his career. With help from Hall of Fame quarterback John Elway, Smith captured two Super Bowl rings in the '90s (1997 and 1998), and didn't miss too many games due to injury.

Personally, I loved watching Smith play the game. He wasn't the fastest on the field, and he didn't have the greatest hands in the game, but that's what made him that much better. He had to work hard, and he was a very reliable receiver over the middle.

He wasn't afraid to take a hit while running a route over the middle, and that just might be what I liked best about Rod Smith. He made spectacular catches, and made it easier for his quarterback--whether it be Elway, Jake "The Snake" Plummer or another one of Denver's signal callers.

While the highly underrated Smith may not ever hear his name being called by Canton, Ohio, I think it's safe to say the Broncos will never see another guy quite like Rod Smith come their way in Mile High.

I do not own the image above

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