Hall of Fame running back Emmitt Smith once ran for 170 yards and caught 10 passes to lead the Cowboys to a big win over the Giants while playing through a separated shoulder, in a game that NFL Network labeled one of the gutsiest performances in league history. And Smith says that gutting it out on the field through injuries is part of being a great player — even if it means lying to team doctors.
Asked on NBC SportsTalk about Troy Polamalu saying he has lied about concussions in order to keep playing, Smith said he took the same approach during his playing days.
“Oh, most definitely,” Smith said. “At the end of the day, if I can make it happen I’m going to make it happen. I’m going to do what I have to do.”
Smith said he knows now, at age 43, that it’s possible he took risks with his health during his playing days, but he said he never would have thought about that while he was a player.
“How many people think about, ‘Some day I’m going to be 50’ when they’re 20-something years old?” Smith said. “As a young player you can go through certain things that you might not understand the repercussions right then and there because it’s in the moment.”
And even now that he’s had some time in retirement to reflect and to feel the effects of a long NFL career, Smith doesn’t sound like he has any regrets about the way he played the game.