“I’m very proud to see what Adrian has been able to accomplish thus far, especially after the devastating knee injury a couple years ago,” Smith told SportsDayDFW.com. “To see him bounce back last year and have over 2,000 yards rushing is nothing short of remarkable. Can he do it? Hey, I’m not going to say no one can ever achieve that level because I was able to achieve it myself. It’s not reserved for me. Records are made to be broken. All I can do is sit back and say: Good luck, go for it and the day that you get close to it, please call me and invite me so I can come watch.”
The 28-year-old Peterson currently has 9,130 career rushing yards, putting him at almost the halfway point toward Smith’s record of 18,355 yards. But realistically, Peterson is a long shot to reach Smith’s career total.
At the start of the season in which Smith was 28 years old, he already had 10,160 career rushing yards. So Peterson is more than 1,000 yards behind Smith at the same age. And Smith’s longevity was very, very rare among NFL running backs: Smith gained 5,789 yards after his 30th birthday, the most yardage ever for any player in his 30s in NFL history.
So Peterson would have to beat some long odds to break Smith’s record. If Peterson does it, Smith will be there to celebrate with him.