Emmitt Smith is the greatest running back in NFL history, holding the record for most rushing yards. He played 13 seasons in Dallas before signing as a free agent this year with the Arizona Cardinals. With his NFL career winding down, Smith is doing his best to help younger talent, as well as leave on a positive note, a career that started at the University of Florida.
Chris Yandek: Did you have to change or adapt to anything new when you made the transformation from Dallas to Arizona as far as possibly different coaching plans?
Emmitt Smith: “No, I didn’t at all. The system that I am in now in Arizona is very similar to the system I was in with Dallas. Some of the terminology has changed and some of the blocking system has changed. There was a little bit of an adjustment but not a complete change overall.”
CY: Looking back to your days at the University of Florida, did you ever think Steve Spurrier would be in the NFL as the head coach of the Washington Redskins?
ES: “I barely even knew Spurrier. I was there for two and a half to three months. I didn’t really know Spurrier and his system. I didn’t know what his plans were, but I think a coach no matter what the level has an opportunity to come to this level. It’s just a matter if the door is open for them to do so. Fortunately for him the door was open for him to come to the league and coach the Washington Redskins. Unfortunately for The Florida Gators they lost one of the greatest coaches they ever had.”
CY: Would you consider the day you broke Walter Payton’s rushing record as the highlight of your career?
ES: “As a person for me, individually it’s probably one of the highlights of my career. Unfortunately it’s kinda hard to say that and be happy about it. I understand all the hard work that people have labored with me in order to get into the position to do such. I can take some credit, but I can’t take all the credit because there were so many great people that were along with me helping me achieve that great milestone. Those guys in my opinion as coaches, players alike, including fans that were there supporting me through the ups and downs, and my family over there supporting me through the ups and downs deserve a lot of the credit as well.”
CY: What are your thoughts on the Arizona Cardinal coaching style as a team including head coach Dave McGinins?
ES: “I think McGinnis has been a tremendous coach for us. As a player you have to take some of your job requirements and some of your responsibilities on yourself. A coach can only help you get prepared to put the scheme together to execute it on the football field. We as players have to take our jobs, go out there, and work our game plans to perfection. It’s not Dave McGinnis’s fault that we turned the ball over nine times in the first week. It’s all up to the players to go out and execute and make plays. We need to do what we have been taught, execute those plays in practice, and carry it over into the football game. We have not held up our end of the bargain as players. It is on us.”
CY: Do you think the Arizona Cardinals is your last stop in the NFL as far as your active career?
ES: “I think it’s pretty safe to say. I think it’s pretty safe to say Arizona is my last stop as an NFL football player, unless I end up back at home some kinda way. I think it’s pretty safe to say.”
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