Robert Smith

Induction Year: 2004 Sport: Football

He was the best football player ever produced at Euclid High School – a two-time Mr. Ohio Football, Ohio’s Division 1 Back-of-the-Year in 1988 and 1989, gaining 5, 318 yards on 563 carries and scoring 71 touchdowns in three brilliant seasons, he led the Panthers to a 29-5 record, three GCC titles and three trips to the state playoffs. As a result he was named not only a High School All-American as a senior, but the 1989 Gatorade Circle of Champions National High School Football Player of the Year and was also honored by the Washington TD Club as the Dial Soap High School Player of the Year. Taking his talents next to Ohio State, he shattered the revered Archie Griffin’s freshman rushing record, running for 1,126 yards in his first year. After leading the Buckeyes in rushing as a junior in 1992, he entered the NFL draft, where he became the first round (21st) pick of the Minnesota Vikings in 1993. Despite a series of injuries, he won recognition as one of the NFL’s best running backs over the ensuing eight seasons, rushing for a club record 6,818 yards and being named to the 1998 and 2000 Pro Bowls. His best season came in 2000 when he rushed for 1,521 yards to lead the NFC. It was the only season in which he was able to play in all 16 games of the campaign. But after undergoing the third knee surgery of his career he elected to retire from football at the age of 28. Now the co-owner of a software company with another Cleveland –produced football standout Tom Cousineau, and owner of a construction company, he currently makes his home in Pembroke Pines, Florida.