Rod Smith Signs With Chargers

Rod Smith will join Auburn teammate Tyronne Green and former Tiger Marcus McNeill in San Diego.

Auburn, Ala.—Rod Smith, a former walk-on turned three-year starter at Auburn, has signed a free agent contract with the San Diego Chargers.

"It feels real good that I have the opportunity to play in the NFL," Smith says. "As long as I got that opportunity I knew I'd be okay."

Smith was expecting to be picked up late in the draft. When that didn't happen, he already had a spot lined up with the Chargers after talking with receivers coach and NFL Hall of Famer Charlie Joiner along with Chargers senior executive Randy Mueller.

"My papers are already signed and everything," Smith explains. "They faxed the papers during the draft, so if no other team drafted me the deal was going to be done as soon as the draft was over.

"I knew I was going to be a late round pick, but I didn't really know where I was going to go," Smith adds. "I was just hearing late rounds. During the sixth round the receivers coach from San Diego called me and said they had one more pick in the seventh round and they were going to try to take me with that pick if nothing else happened.

"They ended up taking Demetrius Byrd (from LSU)," he continues. "My agent (Robert Walker) had been talking to them also. He called and said they really liked me and that they were hoping that no other teams picked me up in the draft with the last few picks because they really wanted me to come to San Diego and be a part of the team."

Also a new member of the Chargers is offensive guard Tyronne Green, who was taken with the 133rd overall pick in the fourth round.

"It's going to be cool," Smith says. "Me and Tyronne were talking before the draft started and during the draft. We just ended up being together. We're really excited that we're going to get to play on the same team and we're looking forward it.

"This is going to be first time going out there," Smith says of going to California. "Right now I know I'm flying out Thursday and we've got our minicamp on Friday. I'll be there Thursday and just start from there with the minicamp."

Smith walked on at Auburn out of South Gwinnett High School prior to the 2004 season. After catching 26 passes for 452 yards as a sophomore in 2006, he was awarded a scholarship for his final two seasons. He lead the team in receptions as a junior and senior and ranks as one of the most productive receivers in Auburn history.

Smith finished his Auburn career ranked sixth in school history for receptions with 114, eighth in receiving yardage with 1,598 and 12th in receiving touchdowns with 10.

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