Smith did not hear his name called in the NFL draft, but he was determined to make the league, and he did. After his NFL career, he continued to seek success.
Going from Division II to the NFL
Smith enjoyed a remarkable college career at Missouri Southern State University. He finished with conference records in career receiving yards (3,043) and touchdowns (34). Smith also broke the school’s reception yard with 153 receptions. He was named an All-American after his senior season. During his final season of college football, Smith reeled in 63 passes for 986 yards and 13 touchdowns.
The Arkansas native was a finalist for the Harlon Hill Trophy, which is awarded yearly to the top player in Division II. After his time at Missouri Southern State, Smith entered the 1994 NFL draft. No team did not select him during the draft, and he signed with the Broncos as a free agent.
The Broncos’ decision to sign Smith paid off. When he began his career in Denver, he did not put up big numbers, but that changed as his career progressed. During his third season, he became a starter, and he saw a significant improvement in his stats. He had 70 receptions for 1,180 yards and 12 touchdowns during the 1997 season. Smith continued to put up impressive numbers after that season.
Smith became a top receiver in the NFL
From 1997 to 2002, Smith finished each season with over 1,000 receiving yards. During that time, the Broncos won back-to-back Super Bowls in 1997 and 1998. He was selected to his first Pro Bowl in 2000 after finishing the season with 100 receptions for 1,602 yards and eight touchdowns.
The next season he was selected to the Pro Bowl again as he led the league in receptions with 113. All Smith needed was an opportunity to play football when he didn’t get drafted, and when the Broncos signed him as a free agent, he made the most of his opportunity. He finished his career with three Pro Bowl appearances, two Super Bowls, and was a two-time second-team All-Pro selection. Smith finished his career with 849 receptions, 11,389 yards, and 68 touchdowns. During his career, he became the first undrafted player to reach 10,000 receiving yards, and he has the most receiving yards and touchdowns by any undrafted player in NFL history.
His career in Denver was one to remember as he holds franchise records in career receptions, receiving yards, and touchdown catches. In May of 2012, it was announced that Smith would be inducted into the Broncos Ring of Fame.
Smith continues to “maximize life” after his playing career
During his time in college, Smith received three degrees in economics and finance, general business, marketing, and management. After his NFL career was over, he put those degrees to good use. In an article from the joblinglobe.com published in 2016, Smith talked about his life after football.
Since his career ended in 2006, he has been a successful entrepreneur. “I do a lot of business,” Smith said in the article. “I’m in the coffee business, I have a technology company and I have real estate. Actually, I have about 18-20 different things going on. I try to put myself in the places where I can do the most good.” Smith has been the International Coffee Company owner since 2008 and has made sure that he’s displaying his full potential as an entrepreneur.
“I just try to maximize life,” Smith said. “People ask me what I do now, and I don’t know where to start. I’ll pull out a big list. I’m always active. That’s just what I do.” Not only did Smith have success in the NFL, but he’s having success in his personal life as well.