Former WKU running back Rod Smart safe after being reported missing

Drake Kizer

Former WKU football player Torrold “Rod” Smart was declared “a missing endangered person” in Lancaster County, South Carolina, according to a Facebook post shared by the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office Tuesday.

The post was later updated with a message noting the 42-year-old had been recovered after he was listed as a missing person at 7:52 a.m.

“Mr. Smart has been located and he is safe at this time. We appreciate everyone’s concern and assistance,” authorities wrote.

Smart, a native of Lakeland, Florida, hadn’t been seen since the morning of June 12 in Indian Land, South Carolina. The area is situated about one hour south of Charlotte, North Carolina, close to the state line.

“It is unusual for him to be out of touch for this long. Mr. Smart’s family is worried about his safety and well-being,” authorities wrote in the original missing person advisory shared on social media.

Smart achieved nationwide fame as “He Hate Me” in spring 2001. While playing in the short-lived XFL for the Las Vegas Outlaws, Smart sported the phrase on his nameplate during the league’s games. He was touted as “the face of the league” by an ESPN 30 for 30 tweet in May.

Smart ran track and played running back at WKU in the late 1990s. Smart starred during his time on the Hill, finishing his Hilltopper career ranked eighth in school history with 2,305 rushing yards on 356 carries and 21 touchdowns in his career, according to his 2006 Oakland Raiders bio.

In the current WKU football record book, Smart is tied for fourth with several players on the most 150-yard rushing games in a season list, posting four in 1999. Smart also has the seventh-longest rush in school history, an 89-yard touchdown on the road at Eastern Kentucky in 1999.

Originally signed by the San Diego Chargers as an undrafted free agent in 2000, Smart went on to play in the NFL for the Philadelphia Eagles in 2001 and the Carolina Panthers from 2002-2005. Smart returned four punts for the Panthers in Super Bowl XXXVIII in 2004, becoming the first former WKU player to ever participate in the Super Bowl.

Smart retired after offseason stints in the the Canadian Football League, NFL and the failed All American Football League. He hasn’t played professional football since he was cut in the 2006 NFL preseason.

Sports Editor Drake Kizer can be reached at 270-745-2653 and [email protected]. Follow Drake on Twitter at @drakekizer_.