|10-14-2006, 12:01 AM||#1|
Ring of Famer
Join Date: May 2001
Little happy to hand record over to Rod...
Little happy to hand over record to receiver Smith
By Ryan Thorburn, Camera Sports Writer
October 13, 2006
ENGLEWOOD — Floyd Little had to work hard for each of the 12,173 all-purpose yards he compiled while playing for the Denver Broncos from 1967 to 1975.
So the Ring of Fame running back known as "The Franchise" has been an admirer of Rod Smith's unlikely career — from undrafted free agent to one of the greatest receivers in NFL history.
Entering Sunday night's game against the Oakland Raiders, Smith needs only 74 yards to become the new franchise leader in combined yardage.
"I think it's great," Little told the Camera on Thursday when asked about possibly having his record broken after 31 years. "Rod is one of my favorites. I'm so happy for him. If I would want anybody to have it, it would be Rod Smith."
Little was the first No. 1 draft pick signed by the Broncos. Many longtime followers of the team believe his decision to play in Denver prevented the franchise from moving.
Most of his rushing records were broken by Terrell Davis during the Super Bowl years. Little had 6,323 yards rushing, 2,418 receiving and 3,432 on kick returns.
Smith, who joined the team in 1995, has 11,001 receiving, 348 rushing and 751 on kick returns.
"Rod could have played in any era. So could Al Wilson and John Lynch," Little said. "They're throwbacks. They're real football players."
Little will sign copies of his autobiography, "Floyd Little's Tales from the Broncos sideline," at the Littleton Barnes & Noble today from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. and at the Tattered Cover in Denver on Colfax on Saturday from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
If the Broncos were playing an afternoon game, Little said he would have stayed to watch Sunday's game. Instead he will tune in from his home in Seattle to see if Smith makes history.
"He'll get it this week," Little predicts.
Randy Moss has a total of 12 catches in four games for the Raiders, averaging only 11.3 yards per reception with a team-leading two touchdowns. Oakland's No. 2 receiver, Jerry Porter, has been inactive since a training camp feud with head coach Art Shell.
Porter, unhappy with Shell's old-school approach, demanded a trade.
"Look, he's working. I have no problem with that. He's doing what he's being asked to do and that's all I can ask," Shell said when asked about Porter's status for Sunday night's game. "If I feel that I need to put him on the roster on game day then I will do that."
A reporter followed up by asking of Porter was one of Oakland's top 45 players — the number activated for each game.
"He's one of the best 45, yes," Shell said.
Long, awkward pause in the teleconference ..."... 45, 46, 47, you've got 53 guys. He's on the team."
Porter signed a new five-year contract that included a $13 million signing bonus after leading the Raiders with 76 receptions and 942 yards last season.
Safety in numbers
John Lynch expects to start Sunday after suffering a pinched nerve in his neck against Baltimore. If the Pro Bowl safety had to miss time, the Broncos believe the defense would not skip a beat with Sam Brandon in the lineup.
In fact, Brandon was an important part of the game plan against the Ravens, shadowing tight end Todd Heap and limiting him to three catches for 21 yards.
"He's a good man, he's an experienced player, and he has started here," defensive coordinator Larry Coyer said. "And he's gotten better with each year. He's just in a situation where we have those two guys that are really great players. There's no drop off with Sam out there."
Elvis Dumervil, the rookie defensive lineman who led the NCAA with 20 sacks for Louisville last season, made his Bronco debut on Monday night after being inactive for the first three games. He did not register a tackle.
It's obvious that the 5-foot-11, 250-pound Dumervil — compared to Indianapolis standout Dwight Freeney by coaches during training camp — is still a project.
"He got broke in, so that's a start," was Coyer's assessment of Dumervil's play. "We're pleased with the fact that he got broke in. Now we'll see what's going to happen."
With the loss of Courtney Brown (knee), who was place on injured reserve on Wednesday, there is an opportunity for another player to get into the projected rotation.
Ebenezer Ekuban leads the team with 21/2 sacks. Patrick Chukwurah is second with 11/2.