NFL News of April 16, 2003

Spotlight On: Onterrio Smith, Oregon

On Dec. 31, after finishing his season in the Seattle Bowl against Wake Forest, Onterrio Smith planned to return for his senior season at Oregon. But on Jan. 4, after watching the Fiesta Bowl, Smith changed his mind.

It wasn’t Ohio State’s victory over Miami that caused him to reverse fields. It was the knee injury suffered by Miami’s spectacular sophomore running back Willis McGahee in the game. He was tackled on a swing pass and tore his left anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments.

…Smith would have liked to become the first runner in school history to post three consecutive 1,000-yard seasons. But the McGahee injury weighed too heavily on his mind. “If I suffered an injury like that, it would be downhill from there,” Smith said. “It’d be my senior year, and I wouldn’t have any more years to make up for it.”

— Rick Gosselin, The Dallas Morning News “Sizing up the running backs for NFL Draft”

Smith was selected in fourth round of the 2003 draft by the Minnesota Vikings. He carried more than 100 times for more than 500 yards in each of his first two seasons. His carried derailed after he was suspended for the entire 2005 season for multiple violations of the NFL drug policy.  He was released by the Vikings before the 2006 season and signed with the CFL Blue Bombers but was cut by the team a month later.

He has been unsigned since June 11, 2006.

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