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Robert Smith
Replace this image male.svg
Running back
Jersey #(s)
20, 26
Born March 4, 1972 (1972-03-04) (age 37)
Euclid, Ohio
Career information
Year(s) 19932000
NFL Draft 1993 / Round: 1 / Pick: 21
College Ohio State
Professional teams
Career stats
Rushing Yards 6,818
Average 4.8
Touchdowns 32
Stats at
Career highlights and awards
  • Pro Bowl selection (1998, 2000)
  • Vikings Career Rushing Yards Leader with 6,818

Robert Scott Smith (born March 4, 1972 in Euclid, Ohio) is a former American football running back who played with the Ohio State Buckeyes and later with the Minnesota Vikings of the NFL. While in college, he openly criticized the Ohio State football staff for not allowing him to concentrate on academics. He declared for the NFL draft shortly after his sophomore year (counting his redshirt his third academic year) leaving many of his fans perplexed. (He also starred in track and field while at Ohio State. Smith had been the only player to ever win Ohio's Mr. Football Award twice (in 1988 and 1989). Erick Howard has since won the award twice (in 2008 and 2009).



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. 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.




  • Holds the all-time Minnesota Vikings record for most career rushing yards (6,818). (The previous record was 5,887; it was set in 1979 by Chuck Foreman.)[1]

After retirement

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.

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.


  1. ^

External links

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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