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Emmitt Smith: Why wouldn’t I worry that the hits will take a toll?

Image (1) emmitt.jpg for post 72950 AP

Emmitt Smith holds the all-time NFL record for touches, with 4,924 — and many more in the playoffs, not to mention practices and the preseason, plus all the times he picked up a blitz, and the thousands of times he was tackled in college, high school and youth football. So yes, Smith is worried that all those collisions will take a toll.

Why wouldn’t I worry,” Smith said in a conversation with Clarence Hill of the Star-Telegram. “The evidence is starting to pile up. You are talking to a guy who carried the ball more than anybody in NFL history. So why wouldn’t I worry. I pray about it.”

Smith hesitates to link Junior Seau’s suicide to trauma suffered on the football field, however, and he believes we need to consider both the physical toll that playing football can have on the body and the psychological toll that retirement can have on men who have devoted their lives to football and suddenly don’t have that reason to get up every morning.

“It’s only so much golf you can you play,” Smith said. “Only so many vacations you can take. Plus you are retiring at 35, for me. For some others it may be sooner. You have to find something else to motivate you to inspire you to get up every day to find a sense o self worth. At the end of the day it’s about personal choice and it’s about finding your way through life. That’s not an easy thing to do for people who have been to the top so to speak in one area and then find themselves in a life in valley afterwards.”

That’s not easy even for the players lucky enough to retire with all their physical and mental faculties intact.

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55 Responses to “Emmitt Smith: Why wouldn’t I worry that the hits will take a toll?”
  1. flapjackdaddy says: May 9, 2012 12:30 PM

    More NFL jobs should be offered to NFL players. Position coaches, asst. position coaches, etc…

  2. sj39 says: May 9, 2012 12:30 PM

    Must not have been worried about when instead of retiring on top he went to get beat up a lot more with the sorry Cardinals.

  3. eaglesnoles05 says: May 9, 2012 12:32 PM

    He was a tough s.o.b. I’ll never forget that blasting he put on the eagles in philly on a rainy halloween. IMO, though, you can already see the effects the collisions have had on his mental capacity/speech. Even considering he is not from the grammar capital of the universe, I think emmit speaks a bit like a boxer who has taken his licks.

  4. cincyorangenblack says: May 9, 2012 12:32 PM

    man that would be tough…retired at 35 or before, with Millions in the bank, assuming your not a complete moron who blows it all before your out of the leage….

    ZERO SYMPATHY.

    Try waking up everyday going to a job you probably don’t enjoy as much as you should, but knowing that putting in the 8-5 5 days a week provides for your family….and then do that until your 60+ years old.

  5. randallflagg52 says: May 9, 2012 12:32 PM

    This guy ran out of bounds more than Shaun Alexander, his name better never come up in a lawsuit considering how afraid he was of contact.

  6. leeeroooyjeeenkiiins says: May 9, 2012 12:33 PM

    Now RBs have concussion concerns?

    Tiki is flabbergasted.

  7. irishgary says: May 9, 2012 12:33 PM

    We’ll never be able to tell. Emmitt has had brain damage for a long time. Hard to imagine it getting worse.

  8. unitedstateoftexas says: May 9, 2012 12:35 PM

    Why not just disband the league for Christ’s sake? How dumb do you have to be to not realize that getting hit in the head multiple times is not going to have lasting effects.

  9. blacknole08 says: May 9, 2012 12:35 PM

    “It’s only so much golf you can you play”

    Yep, sounds like Emmitt Smith.

  10. lolb23 says: May 9, 2012 12:37 PM

    Barry was better

  11. dickroy says: May 9, 2012 12:38 PM

    So suddenly you don’t have that reason to get up every morning. Is that like not having any reason to live?
    Most players have wives and children. If thats not a reason then they must be very selfish, self centered individuals.

  12. richiebburg says: May 9, 2012 12:38 PM

    “…suddenly don’t have that reason to get up every morning.”

    I can name plenty reasons to get up every morning and things to do sicne all these menacing hits have stopped their brains from working.

    1. Family/Friends
    2. Taking the millions earned and help make a difference in peoples lives.
    3. Go back to school and get a degree then you can get a new job since you must want to keep working because God forbid you had to retire early!

  13. chiefs84 says: May 9, 2012 12:41 PM

    Here’s an idea: How about the former NFL Players start a foundation that connects them to volunteer opportunities in their communities once they retire?

    This way, they have a sense of self-worth, and make other people’s lives better at the same time. If you have nothing to do with your time, donate it to someone who needs your time.

    That can be their reason to wake up every morning.

  14. luckyexpert says: May 9, 2012 12:42 PM

    I don’t understand the guys that are mad at the NFL for all the crap their body takes. Do people that sit in cubicles all day sue their employers because they are getting fat?

    Emmitt doesn’t seem to be blaming anybody, but I don’t have much sympathy for the ones that are. Everybody has a choice.

  15. trojan33sc says: May 9, 2012 12:44 PM

    Sounds like all the players “fortunate” enough to make to the NFL level for an extended period of time cannot deal with the loss of the “hero worship” effect suddenly stripped away. It’s amazing how after being forced into retirement ballplayers cannot reincorporate back into society. Ending up with millions from playing the game and in most cases some semblance of family in which you can enjoy the rest of your lifetime suddenly find themselves in such a depression that they must “disconnect” from life ??? Even more perplexing is former athletes like Terrell Owns that over their football careers were paid over $46Million and now are flat broke ??!!! Suddenly, every new article on this site is reflecting on the various types of diapers that must be applied to all the former ball players who’s lives have been wrecked from playing in the NFL ! Shyte, how about having the NFLPA (which requires) that a portion of every NFL players check pay into the NFL retirement fund (although they do not qualify for pension until they have been in the league for 3 years) divert a portion of the funds to a program to coddle their own players by establishing a program post retirement? Therefore, they can take care of their own and establish an elaborate pity party.

  16. theashleyguy says: May 9, 2012 12:45 PM

    Well said, Emmitt! Of course, you are going to worry about the toll when you are in a violent game, getting hit by the world’s best athletes. And there is absolutely nothing wrong in recognizing that and trying to make the game safer. Everything gets better, changes, advances, and improves. Why would football be any different? Now that doesn’t mean that people can go around suing the NFL for their voluntary participation in a violent game. They shouldn’t. But of course we should make the game better and safer. The people who don’t want to make it safer are like my Dad who used to say, “By God, I will never wear a seat belt. They are for sissies.” Times change!

  17. cardiovascularendurance says: May 9, 2012 12:48 PM

    I can’t wait until 10-20 years down the line when retired UFC fighters start suing the UFC for not knowing that their job came with certain “health risks.”

  18. unlost1 says: May 9, 2012 12:50 PM

    maybe Barry sanders knew what he was doing after all

  19. scoonie97 says: May 9, 2012 12:50 PM

    Says the guy who held on as long as possible to break Payton’s record and pad his stats.

    Don’t worry Emmitt. All those footballs you kept will keep you company.

  20. skinsrock says: May 9, 2012 12:50 PM

    That last paragraph… might be the smartest thing I have ever heard come from Emmitt Smith.

  21. mikelitoris1 says: May 9, 2012 12:53 PM

    The runnin’ back who have power, might and strong can make the offense work real good. To use a metaphize, the runnin’ back like the engine in a car, and the quarterback like the rare-view mirror. You can’t drive without engine, but you can drive without rare-view mirror although that probably increasin’ your chance of gettin’ into accident. I try removin’ my rare-view mirror one time and a stop sign almost hit me. It was then when I say to myselves, “Emmitt, the engine very important, but the rare-view mirror also important too as well!”

  22. dirtfrompeedysuniform says: May 9, 2012 12:54 PM

    “It’s only so much golf you can you play,”
    How awesome is english that he speaking. Go Gators??

  23. andyreidisarrogantandfat says: May 9, 2012 12:55 PM

    Love emmitt but man alot of people would like to have the opportunity to play too much golf and retire at 35. If raising your family isn’t enough to get you up in the morning then that’s on you. I just can’t feel sorry for these people even if they are coming out of the game banged up. They have lived a charmed life and were catered to and then when it stops they can’t deal. Stop it. How about growing up and being responsible adults after you are done playing. This way you won’t blow your money on nonsense. Try having a family with only one women and raising healthy adults. Start a business. Help the underpriviledged. Tons of stuff to do besides feeling sorry for yourself.

  24. gafraidh says: May 9, 2012 12:57 PM

    While Seau may not have committed suicide because of “trauma” caused by football, I’m pretty sure he didn’t wake up one day feeling bored and therefore deciding to just kill himself. There has to be something in between. Depression can be a nasty disease caused by more than just CTE, and suicide is not limited to former NFL players that can’t decide what to do today.

    I do agree with Emmitt if he is trying to say, let’s not rush to judgement. I disagree if he is trying to suggest that a retired veteran of the NFL shouldn’t be expected to cope with life after football.

  25. jlb10 says: May 9, 2012 12:59 PM

    “At the end of the day it’s about personal choice and it’s about finding your way through life. That’s not an easy thing to do for people who have been to the top so to speak in one area and then find themselves in a life in valley afterwards.”

    welcome to the real world! for all of us it is about finding our way through life. and NO! it is not always easy. not for any of us. regardless of whether you have been to the top or not. amazing how naive these players seem to be or make themselves out to be

  26. mazenblue says: May 9, 2012 1:06 PM

    I like the boxer comparison. Whats up with all his analogies and his favorite saying”so to speak”. Everyone knows he’s dumber than a group of rocks. He’s been that dumb forever. Now add in his career of getting hit. Go to you tube and google this guys interviews and broadcasting.

    Barry was the better back. Emmitt had to play some extra years while Barry retired early. Barry can say complete sentences and doesn’t have to write it on a piece of paper just to remember. Never liked the 90’s Cowboys. Bunch of arrogant, loud mouthed coke heads. America’s team, ha what a joke.

  27. thereisfootballwestofjersey says: May 9, 2012 1:11 PM

    Always had a ton of respect for Emmit even though Im a Niner for life. Based on his brilliant HOF acceptance speech, I pronouce him mentally fit

  28. qdog112 says: May 9, 2012 1:13 PM

    unitedstateoftexas says: May 9, 2012 12:35 PM

    Why not just disband the league for Christ’s sake? How dumb do you have to be to not realize that getting hit in the head multiple times is not going to have lasting effects.
    *******************************
    Don’t you mean, “… getting hit in the head multiple times IS going to have lasting effects.” What, did you play football or something?

  29. nflfollower says: May 9, 2012 1:16 PM

    “For some others, it may be sooner”—-referencing retirement age. I bet he’s thinking about Barry sanders, who after meeting earl Campbell decided to retire early instead of shattering the all time rushing record. Barry made his decision, smith made his. If considering his health in retirement contributed to Barry sanders’ retirement, then as far as I’m concerned, the rest of these guys made their choice. I wish them the best, but they knew the older generation was crippled. Specifically smith who extended his career with the cardinals for crying out loud….. Could have and should have retired earlier.

  30. raiderlyfe510 says: May 9, 2012 1:22 PM

    I think less study should be on collisions, and more study should be on all that junk that’s injected in these players to allow them to play through pain.

    Plus you have the sensation of pain for a reason. It’s to restrict you from doing injurious movements. If you remove that sensation you’re bound to severely damaging yourself in ways a player can’t comprehend until later in life.

  31. bamboozle99 says: May 9, 2012 1:22 PM

    If so, why did he play for the Cardinals instead of calling it good?

  32. mn2long says: May 9, 2012 1:25 PM

    randallflagg52: “This guy ran out of bounds more than Shaun Alexander, his name better never come up in a lawsuit considering how afraid he was of contact.”

    This may be the most ignorant/hater comment I have EVER seen anywhere. Please tell me you were being sarcastic because it is impossible that you could really believe that. Go back and watch the final game of the year against the Giants in 93 where he played with a separated shoulder for most of the game. Let me guess, You’re an NYG or Philly fan…

  33. ishudbgm says: May 9, 2012 1:43 PM

    I’m not defending any of the players but a solid majority of them come from un-stable living situations, add that with the fact that at the tender age of 22 someone offers you millions to not think just tackle the QB or run to the endzone with this pigskin in your hands. Most of them are still too mentally young to realize exactly what there doing and the final result in the end. Just seems like at the age of 22, money is gonna always make the decision for you regardless of the final result. You are basically sacrificing your future for the present and hoping that your brain and body can pay the bill when your retired.

  34. purplegreenandgold says: May 9, 2012 1:58 PM

    this has really become such a hot topic centered on concussions and the toll the game puts on your body down the road in life. did you play too long…i knew all these hits will come to roost some day…will i let my children play the game…sueing the NFL for it… etc…etc…etc

    and all i can think about is PAT TILLMAN who loved this great game of ours also, however he had a greater love for his country and never second guessed his decision. players @ the time questioned why. simply he just followed his heart.

    sorry about the babbling but players should know playing the game isnt going last forever. they must plan what they are going to do with their lives after football. if you fail to plan you are planning to fail.

  35. patsfan15 says: May 9, 2012 2:05 PM

    All these people bashing on pro athletes is so absurd. Some of the athletes have some outlandish stores and sad tales of losing money but that happens to average joe as well we just don’t hear about as much because it’s not plastered all over sporting new networks. I can see where a lot of the retired athletes are coming from, theyve been conditioned to have a schedule and where to be and when or years and all of the sudden no one cares anymore there are no more practices no more meetings. So having trouble adjusting is no surprise. The NFL should create a program that handles the adjustment period sort of a life coach. Just because these guys have millions of dollars doesn’t mean they aren’t humans. These people that have “zero sympathy” must’ve played high school ball and bitter cause they wish it was them with brain damage and millions to lose. Idiots.

  36. phillymike5959 says: May 9, 2012 2:08 PM

    The Boston Journal of Medicine is saying there was an 87.3 % chance he was concussed when he decided to tarnish his legacy and put on the Cardinals uniform……..

  37. twigsandberries says: May 9, 2012 2:09 PM

    Emmitt was blowed up over 5000 times? wow

  38. bhindenemylines says: May 9, 2012 2:10 PM

    lolb23 says:
    May 9, 2012 12:37 PM
    Barry was better
    ——————–

    Yes, at quitting, he was.

    He could have been the best, but records are what you are remembered by (unfortunately or not).

  39. vaphinfan says: May 9, 2012 2:15 PM

    Two Points:

    1. Damn that sucks to retire at 35.
    2. He probably didn’t seem to think about that a whole lot once he got those nice paychecks.

  40. bobhk says: May 9, 2012 2:16 PM

    cincyorangenblack says:
    May 9, 2012 12:32 PM
    man that would be tough…retired at 35 or before, with Millions in the bank, assuming your not a complete moron who blows it all before your out of the leage….

    ZERO SYMPATHY.

    Try waking up everyday going to a job you probably don’t enjoy as much as you should, but knowing that putting in the 8-5 5 days a week provides for your family….and then do that until your 60+ years old.
    —————-
    I don’t think he’s looking for sympathy anywhere in that article.
    On the other hand it sounds like you are.
    If you don’t like your job try to change to another one or start a business.
    Why are you doing it if you don’t like it?

  41. 49erstim says: May 9, 2012 2:17 PM

    Hmmm. Yep….. Retiring 30 years early as a millionaire sure would suck. Yep. Now go tell that to all the blue collar boys breaking their backs just to break even so they can “feed their family”. That’s a popular NFL expression right?… Gotta “feed my family”. The problem with these players is that they’ve been coddled from early on just so a coach can keep his job. They go to “college” and a majority of them learn nothing. If only they’d had an opportunity to learn something useful along the way that would help them get by after football was over…hmmmm…..

  42. hedleykow says: May 9, 2012 2:33 PM

    Mistakenly, I always looked at Football Sunday as the perfect symbiosis where fans give up 12 hours of their day in return for watching millionaire players crash helmets together and chip teeth. Now we learn the players are trying to weasel out of the deal? After we fans invested hours, days, weeks, and months out of our lives in this partnership? BS! Fans should sue the players for all the time lost and money wasted spending our Sundays watching these phonies.

  43. strongsidebacker says: May 9, 2012 2:54 PM

    Had the pleasure of meeting and listening to Emmitt a a business function and the guy was pure class. Not a Cowboys fan either.

  44. yahmule says: May 9, 2012 3:03 PM

    Diagnosing Emmitt Smith with brain damage is going to be as difficult as it was to diagnose Alzheimer’s in Ronald Reagan.

  45. FinFan68 says: May 9, 2012 3:43 PM

    eaglesnoles05 says:
    May 9, 2012 12:32 PM

    IMO, though, you can already see the effects the collisions have had on his mental capacity/speech. Even considering he is not from the grammar capital of the universe, I think emmit speaks a bit like a boxer who has taken his licks.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Doubtful. He was like that in high-school too.

  46. drudema says: May 9, 2012 4:05 PM

    Didn’t every player in the NFL attend college? Am I suppose to feel sorry for them because they received a free education and are now either to lazy to use it or were to entitled, arrogant or stupid when they attended school to actually earn a degree in something? I’m saddled with tens of thousands in student loans that I will spend decades paying back and I’m suppose to feel for a wealthy athlete who retires and can’t find something to do.

    I enjoy sports. I don’t live and die by them. They fill the same roll as every other form of entertainment out there. Entertain me for a couple of hours. Thats it. Like successful entertainers, your very well compensated for what you do. But when you are done and you are not entertaining me anymore and you never took the time to figure out what to do with the rest of your life with that free degree. Don’t expect me to feel sorry for you. At that point I’m going to loathe you every month when I mail my student loan check.

  47. mjkelly77 says: May 9, 2012 4:10 PM

    “Why wouldn’t I worry,” Smith said
    ________________

    He sure wasn’t worried when he greedily kept playing in order to set an NFL record. This poser couldn’t carry the jocks of Barry Sanders and Sweetness.

  48. timbuttrum says: May 9, 2012 4:15 PM

    Emmitt has a valid point. It’s clear that all the years of football have taken their toll on him. His speaking ability is terrible as he’s now not able to complete full sentences.

    Oh yeah, Drew Brees demands more of explantion of this as well.

  49. tbpdog says: May 9, 2012 4:29 PM

    randallflagg52 says: May 9, 2012 12:32 PM

    This guy ran out of bounds more than……..

    yeah, guys was one of the best goal line, short yardage backs ever, as well as great at picking up the blitz….yet he was “afraid of contact”….you must be a bitter Eagles fan.

    Barry was the best runner I have ever seen, Emmitt the better player, he didn’t have to be pulled out in goal line or short yardage situations, pass protected better, and caught passes out of the backfield better, and definitely one of the toughest.

  50. tbpdog says: May 9, 2012 4:33 PM

    oh, and “clutch” is everyone’s favorite word lately. When those two got into the playoffs Barry’s average per carry dropped by 1 yard, which youd think sounds right, because he was theoretically facing better teams, but Emmitts actually went up in the plyffs by a full yard…that equals clutch.

  51. botchedextrapoint says: May 9, 2012 4:48 PM

    This why the concussion lawsuit will fail. Guys like Emmitt only stopped playing in the last 10 years and is only just starting to understand what concussions might have done. The understandings are new and recent developments. They will impact the future of the NFL but it is not liable for the past.

  52. mannyfresh209 says: May 9, 2012 6:14 PM

    Emmitt Smith has been my guy since I grew up a Cowboys fan. That being said, this could be one of the most intelligent things I’ve ever heard him say.

    Well said, Emmitt!

  53. djaehne says: May 9, 2012 6:51 PM

    Smith is like Peyton Manning, very few get hits on them because they fall down before they are touched.

  54. skinsfantom says: May 9, 2012 6:51 PM

    Emmitt was awesome give him his props. definitely not soft, if you say that you’re just a douche. barry was good but eh, when it mattered, not so much. WALTER was the best hands down, anybody who saw him knows that. jim brown was 240lbs when the ave weight of d linemen was UNDER 200 lbs, sorry jim. this from a skins fan for over 40 years. GET READY FOR 3

  55. scamilton says: May 15, 2012 2:31 PM

    I will always love and respect Emmitt for being a great running back and an even better person for what he has done for the communities around him…

    But I for one, am completely sick and tired of hearing this whining about NFL players and concussions. You are paid to run full speed and hit each other! What the f*ck did you think would happen? Then the whole reintegration thing is honestly a slap in the face to all of us “normal” people not living in athlete / celebrity paradise.

    If you want to talk about having issues with reintegration why don’t you ask the latest generation of combat veterans who are asked to go downrange for 12 – 18 months and go back home and immdeiately fall back into normal life. Then, once you have finally gotten the family life back into order… Time for the next deployment.

    That is just regular Army. The Special Operations community has held the biggest weight in the last 11 years. Majority of them have been deployed 6 out of the last 11 years.

    Sounds like a lot of these guys need a quick check back to reality, and understand what reintegration actually means. The ability to recognize the need for the bridge jobs these guys are looking for, and the skills to balance their budget should have been learned at the colleges they came from.

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