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Saturday, August 25, 2007

A Little Question for Broncos Fans

It kind of hurts to say it--it feels a little treasonous, in fact--but I have a question. Whisper it quietly, but is there room on the Broncos’ roster for Rod Smith?

Rod Smith is not only the best undrafted wide receiver to ever play the game, he’s also the best wide receiver to ever play in a Broncos uniform (with the exception of the sad end to Jerry Rice’s phenomenal career). Smith is the epitome of a player who made his career on effort as much as pure talent--he worked hard, he worked smart, he took coaching well, and he earned the kind of career that will probably see him on the Broncos’ Ring of Fame and perhaps in the Hall of Fame.

But last season saw his productivity hampered by an injury and he’s still on the mend. Meanwhile, the Broncos have picked up a lot of young, talented receivers who are making their cases to start. Javon Walker, as an obvious standout, will be the number one receiver. What of Brandon Stokely, Brandon Marshall, and David Kirkus (who, admittedly, has legal problems that might derail him)? David Terrell and Quincy Morgan make credible fourth receivers, too, and Nate Jackson fills kind of a dual role as a tight end who started his career as a wide receiver. Right now, the Broncos who are struggling in preseason, have a lot of talent at wide receiver (and credible talent at running back and tight end, too).

Rod Smith, meanwhile, is still on the physically unable to perform list. One of the Broncos’ other great receivers, Ed McCaffery, looked indestructible for years--right up until age and a serious injury stopped his career. Nothing as traumatic or memorable happened to Smith on the injury front, but he has been slow in healing and he is, quite simply, getting older.

I don’t want to see Smith gone; I really would hate to see him in some other team’s uniform. But is there still room for Rod Smith on a Broncos’ roster heavy with talent at his position while he is still a question mark as we head toward the first round of roster cuts?

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