We knew this day was coming. Today, at 2:00 p.m. Rod Smith makes his retirement official. He will probably shed a few tears as he takes the podium at Dove Valley to talk about his 13 years as a Denver Bronco. An undrafted free agent, Smith set numerous receiving records, and was a three time Pro Bowler. With all of the TD’s he scored, not once did he spike the ball or break out in dance. He reportedly has many choreographed routines in his head.
I get nostalgic thinking about the players in the Broncos’ two Super Bowl wins. Players such as Ed McCaffrey, Shannon Sharpe, John Elway, Terrell Davis, etc. that approached the line of scrimmage as if they were playing the last down of their NFL career. Smith’s retirement signifies the final closing on that chapter in Broncos history.
I’ve pulled a few key quotes from various people to emphasize Smith’s ability and character:
John Lynch: ”He embodies what this organization is all about. There are guys you play with in your career who become close friends, but there are special teammates who really have an impact on your career. Even as a veteran coming in here in my 11th year, I learned a lot from the guy.”
Champ Bailey: “You have to respect a guy who works for everything he’s got. Nobody expected him to have 800-plus catches and go to a few Pro Bowls. Nobody even expected him to make the team.”
Owner Pat Bowlen: ”There’s no way anybody who didn’t live inside this organization could appreciate what Rod has done. He was very inspirational. A leader by example. He was a superstar, but he felt he had to prove it to everybody every day.”
Former Broncos head coach Wade Phillips: “I don’t remember whether we thought about drafting him, but we didn’t like him enough to take him and neither did anyone else. Everybody missed on a great player. If we knew then what we know now, he’d have been a first-rounder.”
DenverBroncos.com will be covering the event with live blogging, video, pictures, and the press conference transcript so check back with them for in depth coverage.
A tribute to a great receiver, teammate, and leader: