Rick Smith played for the Purdue Boilermakers as a strong safety. He graduated from that institution, where he served as a coach. After this stint, he coached for a month at Texas Christian University before going to the NFL.
He became the General Manager of the Houston Texans on June 5, 2006 succeeding Charley Casserly in that role. According to the Texans website, he is responsible for all aspects of football operations, salary cap management and budgeting. In 2008, he was given a contract extension through 2012. He previously was with the Denver Broncos organization as a coach then in the front office.
Rick Smith is an executive board member of Pro-Vision, a Houston charter school and non-profit organization in Houston that provides educational, job-training, and mentoring services to boys and girls aged 10–18.