Rod Smith’s name has been resurfacing a lot lately. His face graces the cover of the 2012 Denver Broncos media guide, he spoke to players about working hard to achieve success the night before training camp started, and he’s being inducted into the Broncos’ Ring of Fame in September.
The two-time Super champion entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent out of Missouri Southern State. He left the NFL with 849 receptions for 11,389 yards, and 68 touchdowns attached to his name. Talk about a work-horse.
I had the opportunity to speak with Smith at the Barrels of Love Foundation silent auction, honoring the late Tim Mckernan, otherwise known as “Barrel Man.” Smith was gracious enough to take a few minutes with us so let’s jump right in.
Predominantly Orange: What does being inducted into the Broncos’ Ring of Fame mean to you?
Rod Smith: It means a lot of the hard work that you put in, people recognize it. I don’t play for honors, I play for wins. Through that process of winning, you’re going to do some good things. We had some great teams and a bunch of guys that came together and fought real hard, so it makes it fun because you represent every guy from those years.
PO: You had the chance to play with John Elway, but now the Broncos have a future Hall of Fame quarterback on the roster again. What does that do for team morale?
RS: Honestly, it’s one of those things where you shouldn’t have to try to elevate your game. You should always be playing at a high level. When you’re playing with a guy who is accurate and knows the game as well as Peyton (Manning), it really gives you a comfort knowing that you’re playing with one of the best to ever take a snap. I expect the receivers to really have a great year overall, not just stats wise, but overall a great year. When I played with John, it was an honor and I had to give everything I had on every single snap to make sure he did better. That was my goal, that was my role, and hopefully those guys have the same mentality.
PO: You had to manage some high expectations in the years after you won your two Super Bowls. The Broncos have some high expectations going into this season. What advice would you give players on how to manage those expectations?
RS: Take it one game at a time, take practice one day at a time. What I did is just a constant recall of “CANI” which means Constant And Never-ending Improvement. What that meant to me was everyday get a little bit better. You can’t play one game, and then play the fourth game before you play the second game, so just one day at a time, look at the film, and figure out what could I have done a little bit better today. If you constantly get better individually, as a group you come together a lot faster.
A big thanks goes out to Rod for taking some time with us to give his insight into this season. He’s not only a man with great football skills, but one that the Broncos are still lucky to have in their corner.