Denver Broncos wide receiver Rod Smith, the club’s all-time leader in every major career receiving category and a key member of their back-to-back Super Bowl championship teams, was placed on the Broncos’ reserve/retired list on Friday.
However, Smith's agent says the 13-year veteran has not necessarily caught his last NFL pass. The move simply gives the Broncos flexibility under the salary cap entering he 2008 season.
Agent Tom Mills told The Associated Press the move was a roster maneuver and Smith granted the team permission to do it.
Smith underwent microfracture hip surgery last February, causing him to miss the 2007 season. He recently had another hip operation
Smith played all 13 of his professional seasons with the Broncos after joining the team as a college free agent from Missouri Southern University on May 3, 1994, and posted 849 career receptions for 11,389 receiving yards (13.4 avg.) with 68 touchdowns in 183 games (158 starts). His career totals for receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns are the most by an undrafted player in NFL history, and he ranks seventh and eighth, respectively, in career games played and started by a Bronco.
A three-time Pro Bowl selection (2000-01, ’05), Smith currently stands 12th in NFL history in career receptions, 19th in career receiving yards and tied for 31st in career receiving touchdowns. Smith, whose nine-year streak of recording at least 70 receptions from 1997-2005 ties for the second longest in league history, also established Broncos career records for 100-yard receiving games (31), 1,000-yard receiving seasons (8) and 100-catch seasons (2).
After spending his rookie season on the Broncos’ practice squad in 1994, Smith helped Denver to seven postseason berths (1996-98, 2000, 2003-05), three AFC West titles (1996, ’98, 2005) and two Super Bowl victories (XXXII in 1997 and XXXIII in ‘98). The Broncos compiled a 126-70 (.643) record in the 196 overall games (183 regular season, 13 playoff) in which Smith played for his career.
Smith set Broncos career playoff records for receptions (49), receiving yards (860) and receiving touchdowns (6) in 13 postseason appearances (12 starts). His 152 receiving yards in Super Bowl XXXIII against Atlanta (1/31/99) tie for the fifth-highest total by a player in Super Bowl history.
The wide receiver holds five of the top-10 single-season reception totals in Broncos history, including his club-record 113 catches in 2001 that made him one of seven players in league history to post consecutive 100-reception seasons. He also owns four of the top-10 single-season receiving yardage totals in franchise annals, including a club-record 1,602 yards in 2000.
Smith, who is Denver’s record holder for career combined yards (12,488), yards from scrimmage (11,737) and overall touchdowns (71), was chosen as the Broncos’ Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award nominee in 2006. A graduate of Texarkana High School in Texarkana, Ark., Smith was inducted into the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame in 2007 and the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame in 2008.
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