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.
CAMP CALENDAR: The Broncos report to camp on July 28, their first practice is July 29. The Broncos travel to Texas for joint practices with the Cowboys on Aug. 15-16. Their camp in Denver ends on Aug. 11.
--The Broncos will travel to Dallas for a couple days of practice against the Cowboys before an Aug. 18 preseason game. Denver has traveled to Houston a couple times the past few years to practice against the Texans. Broncos coach Mike Shanahan likes testing his team in a different environment during camp.
--Rod Smith, who didn't practice this off-season as he recovers from hip surgery, said he has not thought at all about retiring at age 37.
"If I think that, then I'll quit," Smith said.
--A little more than a week before the Broncos reported to training camp, fourth-round pick defensive tackle Marcus Thomas was the only one of Denver's four draft picks to sign. The Broncos rarely have a holdout at the beginning of camp, so expect the remaining three to be signed in time for the first practice July 29.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "I don't think it's over." - Rod Smith on his career, after spending most of the off-season rehabbing following hip surgery.
DRAFT CHOICES SIGNED
--DT Marcus Thomas: 4/121; terms unknown.
Broncos Update Community Forums