Robert Smith (American football)

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Robert Smith
No. 20, 26
Running back
Personal information
Date of birth: (1972-03-04) March 4, 1972 (age 42)
Place of birth: Euclid, Ohio
Height: 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)Weight: 210 lb (95 kg)
Career information
High school: Euclid (OH)
College: Ohio State
NFL Draft: 1993 / Round: 1 / Pick: 21
Debuted in 1993
Last played in 2000
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Rushing Yards6,818
Average4.8
Touchdowns32
Stats at NFL.com
 
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For other people named Robert Smith, see Robert Smith (disambiguation).
Robert Smith
No. 20, 26
Running back
Personal information
Date of birth: (1972-03-04) March 4, 1972 (age 42)
Place of birth: Euclid, Ohio
Height: 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)Weight: 210 lb (95 kg)
Career information
High school: Euclid (OH)
College: Ohio State
NFL Draft: 1993 / Round: 1 / Pick: 21
Debuted in 1993
Last played in 2000
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Rushing Yards6,818
Average4.8
Touchdowns32
Stats at NFL.com

Robert Scott Smith (born March 4, 1972) is a former American football running back who played with the Ohio State Buckeyes and later with the Minnesota Vikings of the NFL.

High school[edit]

While at Euclid High School, Smith became the only player to ever win Ohio's Mr. Football Award twice (in 1988 and 1989), until Erick Howard matched the feat, 20 years later (in 2008 and 2009).

College[edit]

Smith narrowed his college choices to the University of Miami, the University of Southern California, UCLA and Ohio State, choosing Ohio State. In his two seasons with the Buckeyes, Smith ran for a total of 1,945 yards. He led the Buckeyes in rushing in 1990 and 1992, with a personal-best 1,126 yards in 1990. He averaged 88.4 yards per game and rushed for 18 touchdowns.[1]

While in college, he openly criticized the Ohio State football staff for not allowing him to concentrate on academics, as he wanted to eventually attend medical school; he sat out the 1991 football season, switching to a track and field scholarship. For the Buckeyes' track team, he posted a personal-best time of 10.24 seconds in the 100 meters.[2][3] He seriously considered transferring to either USC or Stanford University to play football. But Ohio State coach John Cooper had kept the door open for Smith to return to the Buckeyes' football team, and Smith finally returned to play in 1992.[4]

NFL[edit]

Smith was selected by the Minnesota Vikings in the first round (21st overall) of the 1993 NFL Draft. Although he suffered from a number of ailments in his first few seasons, he finally broke through in 1997, gaining 1,266 yards. Smith's finest year as a pro came in the 2000 season, leading the NFC in rushing with 1,521 yards. He retired at the end of the season, despite being at the peak of his career.

In eight NFL seasons, Smith rushed for 6,818 yards and 32 touchdowns, along with 178 receptions for 1,292 yards and 6 touchdowns, and only fumbled nine times. He also returned 1 punt for 4 yards and 19 kickoffs for a total of 460 yards. Smith wore number 20 as a rookie in 1993, but switched to number 26 when it became available in 1994 and wore it until his retirement.

NFL stats[edit]

Rushing Stats[5]

YearTeamGamesCarriesYardsYards per CarryLongest CarryTouchdownsFirst DownsFumblesFumbles Lost
1993MIN10823994.92621900
1994MIN14311063.4141600
1995MIN91396324.55852811
1996MIN81626924.35732521
1997MIN142321,2665.57864500
1998MIN142491,1874.87464611
1999MIN132211,0154.67024011
2000MIN162951,5215.27276341
Career981,4116,8184.8783227295

Receiving Stats[5]

YearTeamGamesReceptionsYardsYards per ReceptionLongest ReceptionTouchdownsFirst DownsFumblesFumbles Lost
1993MIN10241114.6120400
1994MIN14151057.0150700
1995MIN97355.0110100
1996MIN87395.6160100
1997MIN14371975.3201900
1998MIN142829110.46721200
1999MIN13241666.9340600
2000MIN16363489.75331500
Career981781,2927.36765500

Records[edit]

NFL[edit]

After retirement[edit]

Smith retired after only eight seasons in the NFL. He walked away from the game to pursue a career in medicine as well as to avoid any serious injuries. He has maintained a mostly private life since his retirement. He has appeared as a guest on the ESPN news program Outside the Lines, as well as on various ESPN programs alongside regulars Rece Davis, Mark May, and Lou Holtz. Smith also works on the NFL Network as an analyst and has appeared on The Score to discuss the NFL.

Smith founded the Robert Smith Foundation, a charity whose goal is to "provide financial and moral support for Children's hospitals and cancer research."

Smith made a cameo appearance in the TV series Mystery Science Theater 3000. He was in Season 8 Episode 3 The Mole People. He played a scantily clad, mute "hunk" given to Pearl (the series' antagonist) as a present by her minions.

2004 saw publication of Smith's book The Rest of the Iceberg: An Insider's View on the World of Sport and Celebrity. In it he discussed his background, his time at Ohio State and the NFL, and why he retired. He also analyzed the obsession placed on sports stars by the public.

Salon.com wrote in 2006 that Smith is an atheist.[7]

Smith is one of the amateur astronomers featured in science writer Timothy Ferris's 2007 PBS program, Seeing in the Dark, based on his 2002 book of the same name.

On November 1st, 2013, Smith openly admitted to fighting alcoholism during his playing career on ESPN during an interview on SportsCenter. Smith explained he sought counseling and has now been sober since the birth of his son, and that his family is his daily motivation to stay sober. He also appeared on ESPN's First Take with Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless talking about his stint as an alcoholic. [8]

References[edit]

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Carlos Snow
Ohio State Buckeyes
Starting Tailbacks
1990
Succeeded by
Carlos Snow
Preceded by
Carlos Snow
Ohio State Buckeyes
Starting Tailbacks
1992
Succeeded by
Raymont Harris