Broncos WR Smith to retire after series of injuries

Updated: July 24, 2008, 4:12 PM ET
By Bill Williamson |

In a formality, Broncos all-time leading wide receiver Rod Smith is retiring.

Rod Smith


Broncos coach Mike Shanahan made the announcement on Thursday.

Smith did not play in the 2007 season after having hip surgery. After a second procedure this winter, the team put him on the reserve list, but Smith had said that he wasn't yet ready to officially retire.

Thinking he still might play, Smith turned down a chance to be the Broncos receivers coach in February.

In June, Smith visited the Broncos and passed out pointers to the younger receivers as they ran their routes. He said at the time he wasn't sure if he was ready to walk away from football.

However, he admitted if he had caught his last pass, he was at peace with the decision.

Rod Smith Highlight Video

2006 Highlight: Rod Smith makes a 16-yard touchdown catch.

"You knew it eventually was going to end," Smith said in June. "When it's time to close the door, trust me, I'm going to close it and wish the Broncos the best, no matter what."

Smith holds franchise records for career receptions (849), yards receiving (11,389), touchdown catches (68), touchdowns (71) and 100-yard games (31).

The Missouri Southern product also leads all undrafted players in every major receiving category.

Smith joined the team's practice squad in 1994 and played on the Broncos' Super Bowl championship teams after the 1998 and '99 seasons.

The Broncos made bolstering their depth at receiver an offseason priority, bringing in Keary Colbert, Samie Parker and Darrell Jackson after severing ties with Javon Walker.

Bill Wlliamson covers the NFL for Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

Bill Williamson | email

ESPN Oakland Raiders reporter