Robert Smith
No. 20, 26     
Running back
Personal information
Date of birth: (1972-03-04) March 4, 1972 (age 48)
Place of birth: Euclid, Ohio
Career information
College: Ohio State
NFL Draft: 1993 / Round: 1 / Pick: 21
Debuted in 1993 for the [[{{{debutteam}}}]]
Last played in 2000 for the [[{{{finalteam}}}]]
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Rushing Yards     6,818
Average     4.8
Touchdowns     32
Stats at

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 schoolEdit

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).


While in college, he openly criticized the Ohio State football staff for not allowing him to concentrate on academics as he wanted to go to medical school.[1] He also participated in track and field while at Ohio State.

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.

Records Edit

NFL Edit

  • Second all-time Minnesota Vikings record for career rushing yards (6,818). Passed by Adrian Peterson on September 9, 2012. The previous record was 5,887; which was set in 1979 by Chuck Foreman.[2]
  • Holds the all-time NFL record for average yards per touchdown run at 27.2

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. wrote in 2006 that Smith is an atheist.[3]

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.

References Edit

  3. Krattenmaker, Tom (May 10, 2006). "Going long for Jesus". Salon. Retrieved August 10, 2012. "Former Minnesota Vikings running back Robert Smith, an atheist, says he has no objection to making religious counseling and services available to interested players."

External links Edit

Preceded by
Carlos Snow
Ohio State Buckeyes
Starting Tailbacks
Succeeded by
Carlos Snow
Preceded by
Carlos Snow
Ohio State Buckeyes
Starting Tailbacks
Succeeded by
Raymont Harris
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