Rod Smart

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Rod Smart
No. 24, 32
Running back, Kick returner
Personal information
Date of birth: (1977-01-09) January 9, 1977 (age 37)
Place of birth: Lakeland, Florida
Height: 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m) Weight: 205 lb (93 kg)
Career information
College: Western Kentucky
Undrafted in 2000
Debuted in 2001 for the Las Vegas Outlaws
Last played in 2005 for the Carolina Panthers
Career history
*Offseason and/or practice squad member only

Torrold DeShaun "Rod" Smart (born January 9, 1977) is a former professional American football player. He played college football for the Western Kentucky University Hilltoppers, and began his professional career in the short-lived XFL, where he played running back for the Las Vegas Outlaws and was known by the nickname "He Hate Me". He then played briefly in the Canadian Football League (CFL) before signing with the Philadelphia Eagles of the National Football League (NFL). He then spent four seasons with the Carolina Panthers, 2002–2005, playing in Super Bowl XXXVIII. He has also been on the roster for the San Diego Chargers (in 2000) and the Oakland Raiders (in 2006) and was selected to play in the never launched All American Football League.

College career[edit]

Smart was born in Lakeland, Florida, one of several children. His parents were known to give Rod and his siblings unusual nicknames, including "Bone Bone" and "Fat Girl."[1]

He attended Lakeland High School, where he played both running back and cornerback for the football team, and also ran for the track team. For college he attended Western Kentucky University, where he played for the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers football team. He ended his career at Western Kentucky ranked tenth all-time in school history with 2,305 rushing yards on 356 carries with 21 touchdowns. Smart also totaled 115 receiving yards, 279 kickoff return yards, and 14 yards on punt returns. He started all 11 games as a senior in 2001 and was a first-team All-Gateway Conference selection. In his senior season, Smart led the Hilltoppers with 1,249 yards rushing and 10 touchdowns on 188 carries, for a 6.4 yard average, while his all purpose yards and rushing yards ranked fifth and sixth respectively in school history for a single season.[2] Smart graduated with a degree in Recreational Science.[3]

Track and field[edit]

Smart was also a track star at the Western Kentucky University, where he specialized in the 60 meters and 100 meters.

Personal bests[edit]

Event Time (seconds) Venue Date
55 meters 6.36 Jonesboro, Arkansas February 27, 2000
60 meters 6.86 Indianapolis, Indiana February 7, 1999
100 meters 10.56 Knoxville, Tennessee May 14, 2000

Professional career[edit]

San Diego Chargers training camp[edit]

Smart signed with the San Diego Chargers as an undrafted rookie free agent in 2000. He finished training camp with the team, but was released by the Chargers prior to the start of the 2000 NFL season.[2]

XFL's Las Vegas Outlaws[edit]

In the Spring of 2001, Smart joined the Las Vegas Outlaws of the XFL and adopted the nickname of "HE HATE ME." Smart finished the season ranked second in the league in rushing with 555 yards.[4] Smart also finished third in average rushing yards (3.8 yards per carry), and scored three touchdowns over the course of the one and only XFL season.[4] Smart led the Outlaws in rushing, and was second in receiving with 27 catches for 245 yards.[5]

Edmonton Eskimos and Philadelphia Eagles[edit]

After the end of the XFL season Smart signed with the Edmonton Eskimos of the Canadian Football League (CFL); he played one game for Edmonton before being released in August 2001. The Philadelphia Eagles of the NFL eventually signed Smart to their practice roster on October 2, 2001. He was promoted to the active roster on November 19, 2001, appeared in 6 regular season games, mainly on special teams, and rushed for 6 yards on 2 carries. The Eagles waived Smart at the end of their 2001 season.[2]

Carolina Panthers[edit]

In September, 2002, Smart was claimed off waivers by the Carolina Panthers. He played in all 16 regular season games, and led the Panthers with 24 special teams tackles. Smart produced at least one special teams tackle in 14 games en route to recording the second-highest number of special team tackles in season team history.[2]

In 2003, Smart played in all 16 Panthers' games for the second consecutive season. For the first time in a Panthers' uniform, Smart was utilized as a kick returner, in addition to his special teams coverage duties. He averaged 23.1 yards on 41 kickoff returns for 947 yards, including a 100-yard touchdown against the New Orleans Saints on October 5, 2003 (tied for the longest kickoff return in team history).[2] Smart finished the Panthers' 2003 season ranked second with 14 special teams tackles and recorded his first career blocked punt. Smart also rushed for 49 yards on 20 carries and caught three passes for 11 yards on offense. Smart contributed to a Panthers' special teams coverage unit that ranked fifth in the NFL in opponents' kickoff return average.[2]

Smart's 2004 season was cut short due to injuries. He played in the first three games of the season for the Panthers, but was inactive for the next four before being placed on injured reserve with an injured left knee on November 3, 2004. Despite his limited action in 2004, Smart averaged 21.1 yards on eight kickoff returns for 169 yards, with the longest return being 33 yards. He also rushed four yards on 3 carries, and caught one pass for five yards, on offense.[2]

In 2005, Smart returned to the Panthers healthy, played in 12 games, and led the Panthers with 29 kickoff returns for 615 yards (for a 21.2 yard average). Smart also recorded nine tackles and one fumble recovery for the Panthers' kick coverage unit. After 4 seasons, Smart was released by the Panthers on March 1, 2006.[2]

Oakland Raiders training camp[edit]

On May 4, 2006, Smart signed with the Oakland Raiders as a free agent.[2] Being injured for part of the 2006 pre-season, Smart failed to make the final, 53-man Raiders roster on September 2, 2006.[6]

All American Football League[edit]

Smart was selected by Team Tennessee during the inaugural draft of the All American Football League on January 26, 2008. However, when the league was postponed for its Inaugural season, all players were released from their contract, leaving Smart a free agent.

"He Hate Me"[edit]

"He Hate Me" is the phrase Smart chose to place on the back of his Las Vegas Outlaws football jersey during the one and only season of the XFL (2001). Though most sports organizations allow only a surname or first initial and surname to be placed on the back of a jersey, XFL rules permitted players' jerseys to be stitched with whatever words they wanted. The jersey was the XFL's best seller.

Smart explained the origin of the grammatically non-standard phrase in a January 30, 2004 article with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel as, "Basically, my opponent is going to hate me. After I win, he's gonna hate me. It is what it is. It's a saying I was saying when I'd feel something wasn't going my way. For example, (when) I was on the squad in Vegas and coach was putting other guys in, (if) I felt I'm better than them, you know, hey, 'he hate me.' See what I'm saying? Give me a chance. That's all I ask. It came from the heart. Within. The way I felt. I feel as if everyone hates me, from my mom to my dad and even my brothers and sisters everyone "Hates Me". My buddy Greg Kates always used to use it, so I took it from him."[7]

When Smart and the Outlaws played divisional rival Los Angeles Xtreme, two Xtreme players put "I Hate He" and "I Hate He Too" on the back of their jerseys to express their disdain for Smart. In a later game between those two teams, those two players changed their nicknames to "Still Hate He" and "Still Hate He Too". The curious maxim also caught the eye of American audiences (as well as Smart's future Carolina Panthers teammate Jake Delhomme, who named one of his thoroughbreds, "She Hate Me").[7]

Personal life[edit]

Smart is a fan of the 1970s bands Earth, Wind and Fire, Heatwave, Parliament and many more.[3] He was the "class clown" but managed to keep his grades well above average with all A's and a couple of B's at Lakeland Senior High School in Lakeland, Florida.[3] His nickname growing up and in high school was "The Rocket" after Raghib "Rocket" Ismail of Notre Dame, because of his speed, running a 4.25 40 yard dash. Smart's younger brother is Chris Rainey, former Lakeland High School standout running back and former NFL player. Smart's first cousin is former Philadelphia Eagles receiver Freddie Mitchell.[2]

Smart currently lives in Charlotte, North Carolina and works with high school students as a counselor.

References[edit]

  1. ^ As stated in the week 3 XFL Los Angeles at Las Vegas television broadcast on NBC.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Rod Smart #39". Raiders.com. Archived from the original on 2006-08-25. Retrieved 2006-08-16. 
  3. ^ a b c Sowder, Amy (2005-01-25). "Meet The Pro: Rod Smart". Lakeland Magazine. Retrieved 2006-08-16. 
  4. ^ a b "XFL Statistical Leaders". All-XFL.com. Retrieved 2006-08-21. 
  5. ^ "2001 Las Vegas Outlaws Final Regular Season Stats". All-XFL.com. Retrieved 2006-08-16. 
  6. ^ "Oakland Raiders Transactions (2006-09-02)". Raiders.com. Archived from the original on 2006-08-24. Retrieved 2006-09-02. 
  7. ^ a b Silverstein, Tom (2004-01-30). "Fans love "He Hate Me"". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Online. Archived from the original on 2007-05-13. Retrieved 2006-08-16. 

External links[edit]