Once making it to the Pro Bowl in 2010, Smith experienced a massive career derailment when he required micro-fracture surgery on his knee.
The highlights of Smith’s career are many as the 2009 NFL season saw him become Eli Manning’s most trusted target. It was a 16-game campaign where he hauled in 107 passes for 1220 yards and seven touchdowns.
However, predating his breakout, Smith did play an integral part in securing a Super Bowl victory during his 2007 NFL rookie season with the Giants. While he only played in five games during the regular season, he was integral in keeping many drives alive in Super Bowl XLII. In fact, four of his five receptions during the aforementioned championship matchup were on third down.
But, the David Tyree helmet catch and Plaxico Burress’ fade route to seal the game often overshadow Smith’s forgotten—yet still valorous—third down heroics.
After 2010, Smith’s contract negotiations with the Giants deteriorated to the point of a divorce; Smith signed with the Giants’ NFC East division rival, the Philadelphia Eagles where he only had 255 receiving yards during his last two NFL seasons with the Eagles and the St. Louis Rams, respectively.
Moreover, Smith fell out of the Giants’ fans favor when many of New York’s loyal followers saw his turn to the Eagles as something of a traitorous tactic. It was actually somewhat shocking, considering Smith backed then-Giants defensive end Osi Umenyiora in a highly publicized Twitter feud with Eagles running back LeSean McCoy earlier during the same offseason.
Smith retires from the NFL with 245 receptions, 2,641 yards, and 12 touchdown receptions. One can only speculate what his career might have turned into had injury not hindered it.