Rod Smith is a bit frustrated, but not impatient. Smith, Denver's all-time leading receiver, had hip surgery in February. The pain in his hip was one reason he had a disappointing season.
He is working hard in rehab but taking his time. Smith didn't practice with the team all off-season, including a minicamp the second week of July.
"When I go back out there, it's for real," Smith said. "I don't want to have any setbacks."
Smith said, at age 37, a setback could be too costly for him. Even though training camp was quickly approaching, and Smith is well known in Denver for his work ethic, he didn't sound concerned if he is not practicing when camp begins.
"If I don't, I don't think it's the end of the world," Smith said. "Football season starts in September, and that's what I'm looking forward to."
The Broncos' coaching staff is waiting as well. Even if Smith returns during training camp, he will likely be watched very closely.
"We don't want to push him too hard and set him back," coach Mike Shanahan said.
Smith said he thinks he can return to his old form. In 2005 he had more than 1,000 yards. The Broncos are planning on second-year player Brandon Marshall taking his starting spot this season, but Smith thinks he can be a contributor this season.
"It's just a matter of getting back into form, getting to where I'm not uncomfortable doing some of the things I know I can do," Smith said...