|Tearful Smith calls it a career|
|Written by Admin|
|Thursday, 24 July 2008 13:27|
The rings were a reminder of once was, the shades to hide back the tears.
Smith stepped into a room full of family, friends and teammates Thursday and announced he was done.
He tried to tell a joke to start things off, but his usual wisecracks failed him. Instead, he pulled out a tissue from his pocket and dabbed at his eyes.
Saying farewell wasn't easy.
``I gave them everything I had,'' Smith said as he choked up.
For that, owner Pat Bowlen was truly appreciative, calling Smith the best Broncos player not named John Elway that he's ever had play for him.
``If I ever get anybody like you or like John again, I'm going to be very fortunate,'' Bowlen said.
The 38-year-old Smith has been on the reserve/retired list since February and has had two hip operations in the past year and a half. He's the franchise's career leader in every major receiving category.
``Rod is the only person I've ever been around on a consistent basis, day in and day out, that never cared about his stats,'' Broncos coach Mike Shanahan said. ``All Rod talked about was winning.''
His numbers were nice, though. Smith holds franchise records for career receptions (849), receiving yards (11,389), touchdown catches (68), touchdowns (71) and 100-yard games (31).
The former Missouri Southern star also leads all undrafted players in every major receiving category.