Broncos placed wide receiver Rod Smith on the reserve/retired list Friday, effectively ending the career of the most accomplished pass catcher in franchise history after 13 seasons.
Smith joined Denver as an undrafted free agent out of Missouri Southern University prior to the 1994 season, and went on to amass 849 career receptions, 11,389 receiving yards and 68 touchdowns in 183 games with the Broncos.
Friday’s move was based on a mutual agreement by the player and the team after Smith underwent the second of two hip surgeries in January. The 37-year old missed the entire 2007 campaign while rehabilitating from the initial procedure last offseason, and was placed on injured reserve in early November.
A three-time Pro Bowl selection, Smith ranks seventh in career games played with the Broncos and holds the NFL career record for receptions, receiving yards and touchdown catches by an undrafted player.
The 6-foot, 190-pounder currently ranks 12th on the NFL’s career receptions list, and his nine-year streak of catching at least 70 passes each season from 1997 through 2005 ties for the second longest in league history.
Smith spent his rookie season on the Broncos practice squad but quickly ascended the team’s depth chart, becoming an integral member of two Super Bowl champions and seven Denver playoff squads. He set team records with 49 total postseason receptions, 860 receiving yards and six playoff touchdowns. In Denver’s Super Bowl XXXIII win over Atlanta, Smith had 152 receiving yards — tied for fifth-best in Super Bowl history.
Among his many achievements with Denver, the Texarkana (AR) High School product is the Broncos’ career record holder in combined yards (12,488), yards from scrimmage (11,737) and overall touchdowns (71).