Former NFL running back Rod Smart — who became known as “He Hate Me” during his brief stint in the XFL — has been classified as a “missing endangered person” by police in South Carolina.
The Lancaster (S.C.) County Sheriff’s Office announced Tuesday that it is seeking information about the whereabouts of Smart, whose given first name is Torrold. The 42-year-old was last seen Wednesday morning — a little more than six days ago — in Indian Land, South Carolina.
“It is unusual for him to be out of touch for this long,” the sheriff’s office wrote in a missing person advisory. “Mr. Smart’s family is worried about his safety and well-being.”
Smart, who grew up in Lakeland, Florida, played college football at Western Kentucky before going undrafted and entering the XFL. The league, which lasted only one season, allowed players to wear whatever name or phrase they chose on the back of their jerseys, so Smart chose “He Hate Me.”
Panthers running back Rod Smart rushes against the Eagles. (Photo: H. Darr Beiser, USA TODAY Sports)
“Basically, my brother’s my opponent,” he told The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel of the nickname in 2004. “After I win, he’s going to hate me. It is what it is. It’s a saying I was saying when I’d feel something wasn’t going my way. For example, (when) I was on the squad in Vegas and coach was putting other guys in.
“If I felt I’m better than them, you know, hey, he hate me. See what I’m saying? Give me a chance. That’s all I ask. It came from the heart. Within. The way I felt.”
Smart went on to sign with the Philadelphia Eagles’ practice squad and eventually become a full-time member of the Carolina Panthers, appearing mostly on special teams. He returned four punts for 74 yards in Carolina’s Super Bowl loss to the New England Patriots in 2004.
The Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office is asking anyone with information about Smart’s whereabouts to call (803) 283-3388.
Contact Tom Schad at [email protected] or on Twitter @Tom_Schad.