Emmitt Smith: Profession retrospective

There have been fairly a number of notable “triplets” within the fashionable NFL, however none fairly just like the trio from the Dallas Cowboys within the early Nineties. The nickname was coined for quarterback Troy Aikman, large receiver Michael Irvin and operating again Emmitt Smith.

All three are members of the Professional Soccer Corridor of Fame, however it’s laborious to argue Smith wasn’t probably the most gifted of them. Smith led the league in dashing 4 instances and posted 1,000 dashing yards in 11 straight seasons.

With Smith now in his 50s, it looks as if an excellent time to look again at his NFL profession and life after soccer.


1 of 26

Turns into highschool soccer and observe star in Pensacola, Florida

Becomes high school football and track star in Pensacola, Florida

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At Escambia Excessive Faculty, Smith was a two-sport star, dashing for almost 9,000 yards and greater than 100 touchdowns whereas additionally competing within the 4×100 meter relay. On the time, Smith’s 8,804 dashing yards was the second most in American highschool soccer historical past.


2 of 26

Breaks Florida single-game dashing file in first school begin

Breaks Florida single-game rushing record in first college start

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After not beginning in his first two video games as a freshman at Florida, Smith was within the beginning lineup within the 1987 SEC opener towards Alabama. Smith did not waste any time, dashing for 224 yards and two touchdowns on 39 carries in his first-ever school begin. That dashing whole broke the Florida single-game file, which had stood for 57 years.


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Earns SEC and Nationwide Freshman of the 12 months honors in 1987

Earns SEC and National Freshman of the Year honors in 1987

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Smith continued to blossom throughout his freshman yr and reached the 1,000-yard mark through the season’s seventh recreation. That was the quickest any operating again reached that whole to start a school profession. For his efforts, he earned the SEC and Nationwide Freshman of the 12 months honors.


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Units data at Florida as junior

Sets records at Florida as junior

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After an harm ruined his sophomore season, Smith got here again with a historic junior marketing campaign. In 1989 he gained 1,599 dashing yards and collected 3,928 profession yards on the bottom, each of which have been new faculty data. Towards New Mexico in October, he broke his personal file with 316 dashing yards in a single recreation. He additionally set data with a 96-yard run towards Mississippi State and 36 profession dashing touchdowns.


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Turns into the No. 17 total choose of the Dallas Cowboys in 1990

Becomes the No. 17 overall pick of the Dallas Cowboys in 1990

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Regardless of an incredible school profession, NFL scouts nonetheless doubted whether or not Smith was large enough or quick sufficient to play within the NFL. The Cowboys reportedly needed to draft linebacker James Francis, however the Cincinnati Bengals chosen him earlier than Dallas had the possibility. Due to this fact, the Cowboys traded up 4 spots to No. 17 to seize Smith. 


6 of 26

Wins 1990 NFL Offensive Rookie of the 12 months Award

Wins 1990 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Award

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Much like the best way he started his school profession, Smith turned the Cowboys beginning operating again after one recreation and excelled. He reached the Professional Bowl as a rookie and earned the 1990 NFL Offensive Rookie of the 12 months Award. Smith rushed for 937 yards and 11 touchdowns whereas additionally posting 24 catches for 228 receiving yards in 1990.


7 of 26

Leads NFL in dashing for first time in 1991

Leads NFL in rushing for first time in 1991

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In his second yr, Smith carried the ball 124 extra instances than in his rookie season and noticed his dashing common bounce from 3.9 to 4.3 yards per rush. That led to his first of 4 dashing titles. He ranked first within the league with 365 carries and 1,563 dashing yards throughout 1991. Behind Smith, the Cowboys went 11-5 and earned a playoff berth for the primary time since 1985.


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Units Cowboys single-season file with 1,713 dashing yards in 1992

Sets Cowboys single-season record with 1,713 rushing yards in 1992

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In 1992 Smith earned a spot on the NFL All-Professional staff for the primary time in his profession. He would maintain that honor from 1992-95. Smith surpassed all of his marks from 1991 throughout his third season and posted a brand new franchise file 1,713 dashing yards. That led the league, and he was additionally first within the NFL with 18 dashing touchdowns.


9 of 26

Helps Cowboys win first Tremendous Bowl in 15 years

Helps Cowboys win first Super Bowl in 15 years

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Dallas gained its first of 5 straight NFC East titles in 1992 with a 13-3 file. It was the primary time in staff historical past the Cowboys gained 13 video games, and that is a mark they’ve matched solely two different instances (2007 and 2016). However most significantly, Dallas reached the Promised Land once more, routing the Buffalo Payments in Tremendous Bowl XXXVII, 52-17. Smith rushed for greater than 100 yards in all three playoff video games, together with 108 yards within the Tremendous Bowl.


10 of 26

Famously holds out and misses first two video games of 1993

Famously holds out and misses first two games of 1993

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Following the Tremendous Bowl win and three straight dashing titles, Smith was in quest of an even bigger payday. Due to this fact, he started one of the crucial well-known holdouts in NFL historical past. He missed all of coaching camp and the primary two video games of the common season. The Cowboys misplaced each contests and have been at risk of dropping their likelihood at a title protection.


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Turns into highest-paid operating again in NFL after Week 2 in 1993

Becomes highest-paid running back in NFL after Week 2 in 1993

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However after the 0-2 begin, Cowboys proprietor Jerry Jones admitted he was improper by opening his pockets and making Smith the highest-paid operating again within the league. The labor guidelines have been completely different again then, so Smith and Jones negotiated his new deal through the season. Regardless of lacking the primary two video games of 1993, Smith nonetheless led the league with 1,486 dashing yards and posted a career-best 5.3 dashing yards per carry common.


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Units franchise file towards Eagles on Oct. 31, 1993

Sets franchise record against Eagles on Oct. 31, 1993

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No recreation helped that common greater than on Halloween when Smith rushed for a franchise file 237 dashing yards and a landing towards the Philadelphia Eagles. That file stood till 2011 when DeMarco Murray broke it.


13 of 26

Wills Cowboys to NFC East title with 229 whole yards in Week 17

Wills Cowboys to NFC East title with 229 total yards in Week 17

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Statistically which will have been Smith’s greatest recreation within the NFL, however the signature second of his profession got here in Week 17 towards the New York Giants. The Cowboys wanted a win on the street to safe the NFC East and a first-round bye, however through the first half Smith suffered a separated shoulder. Nonetheless, he by no means left the sport and posted a season-high 42 touches. He rushed for 168 yards with 32 carries and added 61 receiving yards on 10 receptions, as he willed the Cowboys to a 16-13 time beyond regulation victory.


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Earns first NFL MVP

Earns first NFL MVP

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Whereas he was great in that recreation, Smith was simply downright excellent for your complete month of December in 1993. Throughout the ultimate 5 regular-season video games, Smith rushed for 688 yards, averaging 6.0 yards per carry. He additionally posted 24 receptions for 142 yards. With 1,486 dashing yards and 9 touchdowns in simply 14 video games, Smith gained his first and solely league MVP.


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Wins Tremendous Bowl XXVIII MVP

Wins Super Bowl XXVIII MVP

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Smith wasn’t as dominant within the first two playoff victories, however with Troy Aikman nursing a concussion from the NFC championship recreation and no bye week between that contest and the Tremendous Bowl, the Cowboys as soon as once more turned to the league MVP. Towards the Payments within the largest recreation of the yr once more, Smith rushed for 132 yards and two touchdowns on 30 carries and added 26 receiving yards on 4 receptions. For his efforts, Smith gained Tremendous Bowl XXVIII MVP.


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Leads league in dashing for fourth time, in 1995

Leads league in rushing for fourth time, in 1995

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In 1994 Smith returned to main the league in dashing makes an attempt, however for the primary time since 1990, he did not lead the NFL in dashing yards. Nonetheless, in 1995 Smith as soon as once more led the league in dashing makes an attempt, yards and touchdowns. Throughout the 1995 season, Smith posted profession highs throughout the board with 1,773 dashing yards, 25 touchdowns and 377 makes an attempt.


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Helps Cowboys win third Tremendous Bowl in 4 years

Helps Cowboys win third Super Bowl in four years

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With 150 dashing yards from Smith within the 1996 NFC championship recreation, the Cowboys beat the Inexperienced Bay Packers, 38-27, to return to the Tremendous Bowl for the third time in 4 years. The Pittsburgh Steelers held Smith to 49 dashing yards in Tremendous Bowl XXX, however he did rating two touchdowns to seize his third ring.


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Reaches 100 profession dashing touchdowns and 10,000 dashing yards in 1996

Reaches 100 career rushing touchdowns and 10,000 rushing yards in 1996

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In 1996, Smith did not make the Professional Bowl for the primary time in his profession as a result of he rushed for a then career-low 3.7 yards per carry. Nonetheless, he nonetheless ran for 1,204 yards on 327 makes an attempt. Throughout the 1996 season, he additionally reached 10,000 dashing yards and 100 profession dashing touchdowns. On the time, Smith was the youngest again in historical past to achieve 10,000 yards.


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Turns into Cowboys’ all-time main rusher in 1998

Becomes Cowboys' all-time leading rusher in 1998

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In 1998 Smith was nonetheless a workhorse, accumulating 1,332 yards on 319 dashing makes an attempt at 29 years previous. That is unprecedented in at the moment’s NFL. Smith definitely did not have the identical explosiveness, however in 1998 he surpassed Tony Dorsett for probably the most dashing yards in Cowboys historical past.


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Turns into first participant with 11 straight 1,000-yard seasons

Becomes first player with 11 straight 1,000-yard seasons

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As is true for many operating backs, Smith’s carries and dashing common continued to say no after he turned 30. However he continued to amass at the very least 1,000 dashing yards yearly till 2001. He turned the primary again to hurry for 1,000 yards in 11 consecutive seasons. In 2002 he broke his streak by simply barely lacking the 1,000-yard mark. Smith rushed for 975 yards that yr.


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Passes Walter Payton for No. 1 on all-time dashing record

Passes Walter Payton for No. 1 on all-time rushing list

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Regardless of snapping his 1,000-yard streak in 2002, Smith made historical past that yr by passing Walter Payton for probably the most dashing yards in NFL historical past. Smith broke the file with 109 dashing yards towards the Seattle Seahawks on Oct. 27.


22 of 26

Indicators two-year take care of Arizona Cardinals in 2003

Signs two-year deal with Arizona Cardinals in 2003

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After breaking the NFL dashing file, new Cowboys head coach Invoice Parcells elected to signal youthful operating backs in 2003. That led to Smith leaving Dallas for the Arizona Cardinals. Smith suffered an harm throughout his first season with the Cardinals in a recreation towards, satirically, the Cowboys. That value him a number of video games, and Smith completed 2003 with a career-low 256 dashing yards.


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Retires with the Dallas Cowboys in 2005

Retires with the Dallas Cowboys in 2005

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Smith rebounded to hurry for 937 yards and 9 touchdowns with the Cardinals in 2004, however following the season he elected to retire. Three days earlier than Tremendous Bowl XXXIX, he introduced his retirement from the NFL. Following the announcement, he signed a one-day contract with the Cowboys.


24 of 26

Wins “Dancing with the Stars”

Wins "Dancing with the Stars"

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Simply two years after his final NFL season, Smith starred on “Dancing with the Stars,” changing into considered one of many NFL gamers to expertise success on the present. Within the present’s third season, Smith completed in first place.


25 of 26

Begins transient broadcasting profession in 2007

Begins brief broadcasting career in 2007

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The previous All-Professional operating again took a stab at broadcasting, starting his tv profession as a studio analyst for ESPN. However he lasted simply two seasons. After an unsuccessful try as an analyst on “Monday Evening Countdown” in 2008, ESPN did not renew his contract.


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Elected to Professional Soccer Corridor of Fame in 2010

Elected to Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2010

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Not surprisingly, Smith turned a first-ballot Professional Soccer Corridor of Famer in 2010. He was a part of a historic class that included himself and large receiver Jerry Rice. Smith completed his profession with an NFL file 18,355 dashing yards and 164 dashing touchdowns. With a shift towards passing in at the moment’s NFL, it is laborious to foresee both file being damaged.

Dave Holcomb started working as a sports activities author in 2013 after graduating from Syracuse College. Over the previous six years, he has coated the NFL, NHL, MLB, fantasy sports activities, school soccer and basketball, and New Jersey highschool sports activities for quite a few print and on-line publications. Comply with Holcomb on Twitter at @dmholcomb.

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