View Full Version : Is there a catch? Only on the field (R. Smith article)
08-04-2005, 12:59 AM
Is there a catch? Only on the field
As a 'complete pro,' Smith still is setting an example for team
By Jeff Legwold, Rocky Mountain News
August 4, 2005
ENGLEWOOD - Rod is Rod.
And so it goes around the Denver Broncos for much of the past 11 years. Rod Smith, with his full allotment of verbal needles to lob on those who venture near, and sometimes not so near, is always there it seems.
And they mean always.
"We all know," cornerback Lenny Walls said. "For 11 consecutive years he hasn't even missed an off-season workout. Eleven, man. That's ridiculous. He never misses anything, he's always on time and he always catches the ball. That's what being a complete pro is.
08-04-2005, 12:59 AM
Smith will be the real voice of the Broncos for the 12th consecutive year - 11 on the active roster to go with his season on the practice squad in 1994. Whether it's breaking down someone's choice in shoes, announcing the arrival of the "paparazzi" each day or offering a quiet word of encouragement to a still-learning-on-the-job receiver such as Todd Devoe, Smith said he always wants to be there.
Rod is Rod, after all.
"You know, I love to see people succeed and be able to have success in this league," Smith said. "But I think the biggest thing for a lot of young guys is to know when to take help. Some young guys just don't understand when it's time to accept some help when it's offered.
"Don't go out there and give me that, 'Let me grow up on my own, let me make my own mistakes.' That to me is like the dumbest statement ever. Why would you want to make the same mistakes somebody else has already made, especially when they can tell you how to avoid them? I already did some things wrong and have seen a lot of other people do a lot wrong, you don't have to go through that. To want to just doesn't make sense to me."
Smith already owns every significant Broncos career receiving record, including the big three - career receptions (712), career receiving yards (9,772) and career receiving touchdowns (59).
He has had seven 1,000-yard seasons, been voted to two Pro Bowls and played in two Super Bowls.
Yet there is a part of him, he says, that feels as good about his personal accomplishment in 2004 as anything. Oh, don't get him started on the playoff loss in Indianapolis. "We need to get over that hurdle and take care of our business better than that," he said. Or his career-most 208 yards against Atlanta in October that came in a loss. "One catch and no yards and a win beats 200-whatever yards and losing any time," he added.
08-04-2005, 12:59 AM
Still, 2004 was a bit of a bounce back for Smith. He led the Broncos in catches (79) and receiving yards (1,144), and tied for the lead in receiving TDs with seven.
And he did that in a season when Ashley Lelie had a breakout year - 54 catches, 1,084 yards and seven touchdowns - while leading all starting receivers in the league with an average of 20.1 yards a catch.
All that came after Smith's 845-yard total in 2003 was his lowest since he became a starter in 1997.
"Last year was just as good of a year as I've had, better, honestly, when you think about what I did with the opportunities I had," Smith said. "I had less opportunities, but that means more opportunities for other guys, and that's good. We won games and went back to the playoffs. Now we need to stay around the playoffs, not just be there for a minute."
"Oh, yeah, he still has a lot of pop," Walls said. "He works so hard, does everything the way you're supposed to do it. He's just the man, everybody respects him, everybody looks up to him."
As expected, Smith and Lelie again have gotten the majority of work with the starting offense so far in training camp. And Smith still is breaking down defensive backs without a wasted step.
Mike Heimerdinger, the New York Jets offensive coordinator and former Broncos wide receivers coach, was asked earlier this year the best way to teach young receivers in the NFL.
Before the question was even finished, Heimerdinger said, "Watch Rod run, watch Rod run routes, watch Rod catch, watch Rod make big plays in big games and watch Rod show up the next day and do it all over again. Then you tell them 'good job' after they do that."
"You know, when you go against guys like Rod Smith and Jerry Rice, you'll never go against as polished a receiver," safety John Lynch said. "Rod doesn't miss a step, so precise, so technical. His routes all look the same, you don't know if he's going inside, outside or going to hesitate and go by you. That's no accident, that's just hard work."
Smith, who has four years remaining on his contract as well as a varied group of business interests, including a shopping center, a real estate firm and a hotel, said he'd like to continue playing "as long as they want what I can give them."
"But you know, I've been around so long now, and I tell these rookies, ' . . . When I came here I didn't even have a cell phone,' " Smith said. "These guys, all they're doing is talking on that cell phone sometimes. I tell them, 'That person you're talking to probably isn't even at work and if you don't get off that phone and concentrate, you'll have plenty of time to talk to them later because you won't keep your job.'
"I always tell them that."
He does because Rod is Rod.
08-04-2005, 01:10 AM
And to think we could of traded him for Pacman Jones.
08-04-2005, 02:42 AM
good to hear
on a side note good not to hear Rod hasn't 't beatup his wife lately
08-04-2005, 04:07 AM
It is truely a shame that Rod will not see the Hall of fame. He is everything that a HoF WR should be, a leader, unselfish, great team player that blocks, makes the tough grabs and plays with the upmost professionalism. If he was to go two more year at 70/1000 7 tds his stats would be 852 rec (7th all time) 11,772 (374 yards short of 10th all time) and 73 tds (here is what hurts as he would be fairly low on the list as 87 is 10th all time).
Hopefully we can at least get him a couple more rings :)