What in the world is Robert Smith doing working as an NFL game analyst for Fox?

The former Vikings running back was asked this on Thursday because, frankly, he spent so much of his time as a star athlete railing against what he's always considered an unhealthy nationwide obsession with sports.

"I really missed being around the game," said Smith, who will work Sunday's Vikings-Colts game at Lucas Oil Stadium.

But there's more to Smith's decision to get into broadcasting. He did one game in 2018 and one last year.

"I had written a book and talked a lot about things inside and outside of sports," said Smith, referring to his book, "The Rest of the Iceberg: An Insider's View of the World of Sport and Celebrity."

"And I think that's a great thing about working in sports media now. You get an opportunity to cover a lot of topics and affect a lot of people in and out of sports. We've seen that being quite prominent here in recent months with all the discussion about social justice."

Smith retired at 28 after the 2000 season. He's living in Dallas, where he runs a digital wellness program designed to help people achieve their health-care goals.

He's been studying up on his former team and is interested to see how it plans to fix one serious problem defensively.

"When you don't have a great pass rush and you have a young secondary," he said, "that's a tough combination."

Since he retired, Smith also has been outspoken about what he's gone through to combat an alcohol addiction that started at Ohio State and worsened when he was with the Vikings.

"One of the sayings you hear when you're around it is, if you want to beat sobriety, you have to give it away, so that's why I talk about it," he said. "Trying to help other people, trying to inspire other people is a huge part of staying sober yourself."

The Vikings have lost five straight games to the Colts. Their last win in the series came at the Metrodome in the 1997 season finale. Smith had 160 yards rushing.