Emmitt wonders if CTE fears will keep his rushing record safe

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When Emmitt Smith was playing in the NFL, teams didn’t hesitate to run their best players into the ground. When Smith played through a separated shoulder in a big game against the Giants, all the talk was about what a tough guy Smith was, not about whether it might be inadvisable for a player to play through an injury.

Times change, and these days, it’s not only acceptable for a player to sit out when he’s hurt, but a requirement if the injury in question is a concussion. Smith thinks greater concerns about player safety — particularly CTE — will shorten careers, and as a result he thinks it’s unlikely that any running back will play long enough to break his all-time record of 18,355 rushing yards.

“It’s a reflection of the changing times in terms of how they value the running back position and how the game has changed into a running back-by-committee approach,” Smith told ESPN. “It could be because of the CTE stuff, it could be because of how offenses use spread formations vs. the I-formation and it could be the way they rotate players in and out.”

Smith acknowledged that Vikings running back Adrian Peterson has a shot at the rushing record, but Smith doubts that anyone other than Peterson could reach it.

“If he doesn’t get it, I don’t know who’s going to get it,” Smith said. “He’s still got a lot of yards to go. I’m not going to lie to you.”

Although Peterson is still going strong, leading the NFL with 1,485 yards last season, he is unlikely to top Smith’s record: Peterson turns 31 next month and is still 6,680 yards behind Smith. Even if Peterson can run for 1,485 yards a season at ages 31, 32, 33 and 34 — an enormous “if” — he would still be short of Smith’s record.

At a time when players like Marshawn Lynch, Calvin Johnson, Patrick Willis, Jason Worilds, Jake Locker, Anthony Davis and Chris Borland are walking away from the game early, fewer and fewer players will want to keep playing as long as Smith did. That’s one reason his record seems safe.

82 responses to “Emmitt wonders if CTE fears will keep his rushing record safe

  1. OK, Smith has the record. But will he remember he has it if he has got CTE. Would it be worth it. With the money Peterson has, why go for the record.

    Like the ’80s drug commercial said when the frying pan smashes the egg: “This is your brain on drugs, SMASH”. “Any questions??”

    Substitute “brain on drugs” withe “brain with CTE”.

    If Peterson was smart he shouldn’t try to go for it, otherwise, he may wind up eating his meals through a straw.

  2. Conversely, in this age of flag football (yeah, the touch football game and the fact that defenders get flagged for breathing on receivers), the passing numbers are going to be stratospheric.

    Already happening. Every passing and receiving stat is vulnerable.

    As a kid, I used to watch the old AFL games which were aerial circuses.

    I’m okay with it, tho……beats battle of field goals we got for a long time.

  3. The only real rushing record with meaning is average yards per game …..

    Just because you played for 15 years doesn’t mean you were top all time.

    Or even top 10 …

    #1 – Jim Brown …..104.3
    #14 – Emmitt Smith …… 81.2

  4. Unfortunately no one is breaking that record in today’s NFL.
    Maybe if AP remains effective and agrees to play for around the veteran minimum after he’s 35….in New England or somewhere the coach values a veteran power back.

  5. During the pre-game ceremony honoring the SB MVP’s there was one that had passed away, Harvey Martin.

    During the half-time show there was a brief retrospect of previous SB performers and I realized that there were at least two that had passed away: Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston.

    Since twice as many more performers have died than SB MVP’s should there not be an investigation to see if they had CTE, or something else? Perhaps performing during the SB is too dangerous. How about a Will Smith movie?

    Just asking.

  6. History says AP really has no chance, maybe 0.001 of his body holding up and remaining that productive, odds are much more likely he becomes washed up in the next year or two honestly. Every time people think he’s done he’s responded though, but I don’t think so this time. Father Time waits for nobody except Tom Brady apparently, and even he will break down one day. We shall see.

  7. valentino8100 says:
    Feb 13, 2016 2:11 PM

    Smith couldn’t tie Sander’s cleats.

    ===========================

    Sanders was the real star on an otherwise mediocre Lions team. Much like Walter Payton before the Bears became dominant on defense. And like Jim Brow, Sanders retired on his own terms at the top of his game.

    On the other hand, Smith was the beneficiary of a fantastic run-blocking o-line in Dallas which gave him huge holes to run through and contributed to his longevity. He would’ve been average at best with an lesser o-line. In fact, in my estimation the best RB in the Cowboys’ history was Tony Dorsett.

  8. nflrulebook says:
    Feb 13, 2016 2:48 PM
    Brett Farve thought his passing records were safe too. Failed to realize the wonders they work at the Guyer institute.
    ==========
    And just think, back in the day guys like Rodney Harrison had to get their hgh in the mail, putting themselves at risk for federal investigation to help win a super bowl.

    How integral were those interceptions in the playoffs again?

  9. Not saying Emmitt is the best because he holds the record, but please stop saying he would have been mediocre at best if he didn’t run behind the offensive line he had in Dallas. If I recall, Dallas lost the first two games of the 93 season when Emmitt held out and the running backs didn’t fair very well. To top it off, Emmitt also won the rushing crown that year.

  10. older RB’s being cut because of the salary cap is another large factor why rushing records will never be broken

  11. Not to take anything away from Emmitt Smith because he is the all-time rushing leader. He did it; he earned it; kudos.

    However I sure would have loved to watch Barry Sanders run behind that Dallas offensive line for a few years. Switch Sanders to Dallas and Smith to Detroit and I have a feeling the record book might look a little different that it does now.

  12. Average yards per game? That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard! If anything rushing touchdowns should be most important, who cares how many yards you ran? If your team loses it doesn’t matter. Who’s the leader in career rushing TD’s again? Oh yeah….Emmitt Smith. Oh and for Barry Sanders fans, that’s 65 more career TD’s. Who’s tying who’s cleats?

  13. I was always leary of people who say things like “I’m not gonna lie” or ” To tell you the truth…”. It almost implies that they’re BS’n the rest of the time. From what I’ve seen when Emmitt speaks for any amount of time, he’s full of BS.

  14. hyzers says:
    Feb 13, 2016 3:13 PM

    Smith has himself admitted that the greatest back of all time was Barry Sanders.

    ________________________________________

    And Barry Sanders admitted and retired out of respect to Walter Payton, who he acknowledged was the greatest Running back of all time.

    Playing for the Lions makes superior talent throw in the towel because they’re the most miserable franchise in the NFL (ie. B. Sanders and C. Johnson)

    Go Packers! Hyzers mad cuz Lions bad.

  15. Emmitt Smith is the biggest farce of a record holder in the NFL. He played behind that great O-line in Dallas for years and then hung around and embarrassed himself in AZ just for stats and nothing else. He needs to just go away already. I’d put Brown, Barry, Walter, Dickerson, Tomlinson, Dorsett,Sayers,Earl Campbell,Marcus Allen, Bo Jackson,O.J., Faulk, Curtis Martin,Thurman Thomas,Herschel,Terrell Davis,Edgerrin James,Priest Holmes,John Riggins,Bettis,Fred Taylor,Eddie George,Corey Dillon, Shaun Alexander,Curt Warner,Jamal Lewis,Franco Harris,Larry Johnson, MJD,Marshawn Lynch and yes AD all over Emmitt Smith based solely on their skill level regardless of how many yards Emmitt ended up with. And that’s just off the top of my head, I’m sure there are plenty more RB’s that were better than Emmitt that didn’t benefit from playing for that many years behind a historically good offensive line, and didn’t hang around when their careers were over padding stats on a basement dwelling team.

  16. The college option style system will keep it from happening. The quarterback being the running back only works until he can’t run anymore. Then the quarterback is done. Colleges are not producing quarterbacks or running backs because of the option. It will make the NFL unwatchable in the near future when coupled with the NFL’s desire to move the game overseas and micromanaging how the rules are enforced. Oh, and the criminal element causing problems both on and off the field.

  17. Hes lucky to have that record. If Barry Sanders would have kept playing he would have ran for 20,000.

  18. Funny how the narrative changes among the Cowboy haters just so they don’t have to admit the Cowboys were ever great and talented. When a Cowboy fan says Troy Aikman was great it’s “Aikman was overrated, Emmitt carried that team.” Mention Emmitt Smith is the all time leading rusher and all of a sudden he’s pretty much overrated too and it was the O line that made him better even though as one comment said the Cowboys were 0-2 in ’93 without him Emmitt then when he comes back they made an immediate turnaround and went 12-2 with Emmitt back (should’ve been 13-1 but Leon Lett just had to touch the ball). And even after spotting every other RB 2 games (including Barry Sanders) Emmitt still was the leading rusher that year. And what does avg. rushing yards per game matter just because Emmitt played 15 years and Sanders didn’t? As I recall Emmitt was the league leading rusher 5 of his first 6 seasons in the league at least (I could be wrong) with Sanders in the league and well before Emmitt even sniffed the 15 year mark.

  19. If I was Emmitt Smith,this is a thought I would have kept to myself. Basically,he is saying that thanks to CTE, which as we all know, causes memory loss,violent behavior,and in some cases,suicide, my rushing record is safe and I will always be the top rusher. What a selfish jerk. There are RB’s who were way better than him.

  20. Everyone knows that Emmitt Smith was a good running back, but he isn’t even in the top ten for greatest of all time. Relax Cowboy fans!

    1st and TOP tier:

    Jim Brown, Walter Payton, Barry Sanders

    2nd tier:

    Eric Dickerson, Marcus Allen, Gayle Sayers, Earl Campbell, Tony Dorsett, OJ Simpson, LaDainian Tomlinson.

    3rd tier: Curtis Martin, Adrian Peterson, Thurman Thomas, Emmitt Smith

    Smith had the greatest O-Line in the history of the NFL (arguably.)

    Jim Brown, Barry Sanders and Walter Payton had no offensive line and ran people over and couldn’t be tackled. They earned their respect and records from their uncanny natural ability to play the position.

    Emmitt Smith’s record should belong to his Offensive line, he didn’t even have to work for it.

  21. It’s safe to say Goodell’s preserving Smith’s record. His rules, along with his injury fabrications, keep stomping the rushing aspect of the gain into the ground. Pretty soon rushing won’t be allowed.

  22. Emmitt is the greatest RB of all time. All around running back which includes Teammate and Work Ethic to go along with all those yards. FYI… The majority of that Oline was there during our 1-15 season. Not to mention the Cowboys started out 0-2 without him in 93 and still made the Superbowl when he came back. I know you all hate the Cowboys but facts are facts.

  23. Emmitt Smith was a great running back and also benefited from a great offensive line. But jesus is the guy so messed up worrying about the rushing record? what a disappointment ! In my opinion, note I am saying MY OPINION, doesn’t mean I am 100% right, he is a step below the great ones of Sanders and Payton. And there are a lot in that second tier that have played, are playing and yet to play. So sad the guy is hung up on that record and its obvious he is. Now I really hope someone breaks it just because.

  24. Barry Sanders -1 yards in a playoff game. Very impressive.

    Yet he still averaged 5 yards/carry for his career. Yes, that is very impressive. When Emmitt says Barry was the best RB of all time, then there’s nothing left to debate.

  25. all i know is he better still be sending barry at least a card for the holidays each year…should be a new watch…but at least a card….

    wonder if the lions are still emmitt’s favorite team?

  26. valentino8100 says:

    Smith couldn’t tie Sander’s cleats.
    ==============================

    Smith didn’t quit on his team right before training camp, and announcing it by sending a fax to his hometown newspaper.

  27. I’m no cowboy fan but Emmitt has the rushing record because he is a great RB…..he may not be the greatest but on paper he is….until someone else breaks the record he is the greatest RB of all time….he had great vision and stayed healthy, he ran with power and quickness…..he was solid and took advantage of the great team around him, doesn’t mean he wasn’t great himself….records have meaning and don’t lie

  28. AP clearly hit the wall in the second half of the season last year. Seriously, look at the stats. He’ll never have another 1000 yard season in the NFL. Stick a fork in him…he’s done.

  29. “I’m no cowboy fan but Emmitt has the rushing record because he is a great RB…..he may not be the greatest but on paper he is….until someone else breaks the record he is the greatest RB of all time….he had great vision and stayed healthy, he ran with power and quickness…..he was solid and took advantage of the great team around him, doesn’t mean he wasn’t great himself….records have meaning and don’t lie”

    This sounds like a comment from someone with very little to zero football knowledge.

    It sounds like you’re describing Barry Sanders not the fluke that is Emmitt “Overrated” Smith.

  30. Emmitt has a higher opinion of himself than he will ever deserve.

    When it comes to all time greats, Emmitt isn’t even in the same zip code as Barry Sanders or Jim Brown. Ya, I get it that he has the record but hands down, he wasn’t even close to the top 2.

  31. orange and blue owns the NFL says:
    Feb 13, 2016 3:39 PM
    nflrulebook says:
    Feb 13, 2016 2:48 PM
    Brett Farve thought his passing records were safe too. Failed to realize the wonders they work at the Guyer institute.
    ==========
    And just think, back in the day guys like Rodney Harrison had to get their hgh in the mail, putting themselves at risk for federal investigation to help win a super bowl.

    How integral were those interceptions in the playoffs again?
    ———
    He only had 1 INT in the playoffs after the HGH thing, vs the Jags and the game was pretty much decided already. I know you are thinking (incorrectly)about the Eagles game but that was 2 years before the HGH. He missed most of 2006 with injuries and it was after that season he “cheated”. Suspended to start ’07. He certainly didnt go on to set records and win a SB after many thought he was done…He also owned up and didnt blame his wife or anything. But good point on the federal probe. Another one going now.

  32. whatjusthapped says:
    Feb 13, 2016 6:41 PM

    Emmitt has a higher opinion of himself than he will ever deserve.

    When it comes to all time greats, Emmitt isn’t even in the same zip code as Barry Sanders or Jim Brown. Ya, I get it that he has the record but hands down, he wasn’t even close to the top 2.

    _____________________________________

    The higher opinion of himself is because of the clown Jerry Jones and that joke of Cowboy franchise.

    Everyone know that that the following RBs are better than Emmit Smith, in this exact order:

    1) Walter Payton
    2) Barry Sanders
    3) Jim Brown
    4) Eric Dickerson
    5) Marcus Allen
    6) OJ Simpson
    7) Gayle Sayers
    8) Earl Campbell
    9) Tony Dorsett
    10) Bo Jackson
    11) LaDainian Tomlinson
    12) Adrian Peterson
    ….
    15)Emmitt Smith

    Class dismissed and have great night!

  33. Do you think the Dallas O-Line made DeMarco Murray better? A good O-Line makes a HUGE difference! Ask DeMarco. Emmit’s no way the best RB… Just like Peyton is not the greatest QB… though the stats may bear that.

  34. Emmit Smith was a smooth operator and a great back but if you watched the majority of his runs he isn’t getting touched until he is 5 yards down the field.

    That Dallas offensive line together was a special special unit. Imagine how many yards Barry Sanders would have had with a line half as talented?

  35. benzo630 says:
    Feb 13, 2016 4:04 PM
    Average yards per game? That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard! If anything rushing touchdowns should be most important, who cares how many yards you ran? If your team loses it doesn’t matter. Who’s the leader in career rushing TD’s again? Oh yeah….Emmitt Smith. Oh and for Barry Sanders fans, that’s 65 more career TD’s. Who’s tying who’s cleats?

    ====================================

    Most rushing touchdowns, season: 28, LaDainian Tomlinson, 2006[1]:s-7[101]

    —————————————————————–

    An Educational Moment

  36. He only had 1 INT in the playoffs after the HGH thing, vs the Jags and the game was pretty much decided already. I know you are thinking (incorrectly)about the Eagles game but that was 2 years before the HGH. He missed most of 2006 with injuries and it was after that season he “cheated”. Suspended to start ’07.
    =======
    Another misinformed Patriots fan. He admitted to receiving hgh just days before super bowl 38 in ’04. He was juiced his entire career with them.
    You guys would be better off not bringing up hgh, LMAO. 2 of your 4 super bowls are a direct result of a juiced player.

  37. Always kind of amazed at the dismissal of Smith’s achievement. When he and Barry were in their prime they split the rushing record 4-4 over an 8 year span and Sanderd wasn’t half the blocker or receiver Smith was. Jim Brown played in an era when LBs ran 150 pounds. I can make a case for Walter Payton being better but the rest of these dudes, forget it.

  38. calvinthegreat82 says:Feb 13, 2016 7:00 PM

    Everyone know that that the following RBs are better than Emmit Smith, in this exact order:

    1) Walter Payton
    2) Barry Sanders
    3) Jim Brown
    4) Eric Dickerson
    5) Marcus Allen
    6) OJ Simpson
    7) Gayle Sayers
     Earl Campbell
    9) Tony Dorsett
    10) Bo Jackson
    11) LaDainian Tomlinson
    12) Adrian Peterson
    ….
    15)Emmitt Smith

    Class dismissed and have great night
    __________________
    Good list… but Jim Brown had no peers and should be #1. Bo Jackson’s career was too short to be included, although an incredible talent, maybe most talented of all.

  39. I am honored and privileged to have seen both Walter Payton and Michael Jordan play in person in their prime here in Chicago.
    I have witnessed other great players in different sports but I have seen the standard and the measuring stick up close and in person.

    It is not that I am biased…. it is that I am lucky.

  40. orange and blue owns the NFL says:
    Feb 13, 2016 8:01 PM
    He only had 1 INT in the playoffs after the HGH thing, vs the Jags and the game was pretty much decided already. I know you are thinking (incorrectly)about the Eagles game but that was 2 years before the HGH. He missed most of 2006 with injuries and it was after that season he “cheated”. Suspended to start ’07.
    =======
    Another misinformed Patriots fan. He admitted to receiving hgh just days before super bowl 38 in ’04. He was juiced his entire career with them.
    You guys would be better off not bringing up hgh, LMAO. 2 of your 4 super bowls are a direct result of a juiced player.
    ———–
    Anyone can google and see you are wrong so I’m not going to argue with you.

  41. zigthepatsfan says:
    Feb 13, 2016 8:49 PM
    orange and blue owns the NFL says:
    Feb 13, 2016 8:01 PM
    He only had 1 INT in the playoffs after the HGH thing, vs the Jags and the game was pretty much decided already. I know you are thinking (incorrectly)about the Eagles game but that was 2 years before the HGH. He missed most of 2006 with injuries and it was after that season he “cheated”. Suspended to start ’07.
    =======
    Another misinformed Patriots fan. He admitted to receiving hgh just days before super bowl 38 in ’04. He was juiced his entire career with them.
    You guys would be better off not bringing up hgh, LMAO. 2 of your 4 super bowls are a direct result of a juiced player.
    ———–
    Anyone can google and see you are wrong so I’m not going to argue with you.
    =========
    DIRECTLY FROM WIKIPEDIA:
    “In addition, according to federal agents and Harrison himself, Harrison received a shipment of HGH, with his name on it, just days before Super Bowl XXXVIII in February 2004.[6]”

    Please do Google it. I welcome that. Facts are fun. I’ll keep arguing with you as long as you spew lies.

  42. For those here who have made all-time RB lists need a history lesson for omitting former Philadelphia Eagle great HOFer Steve Van Buren. From 1944-49 he led the league in rushing yards and touchdowns 4x and led the league in YPG 5 straight seasons. He still holds a championship game 196 yards in the 1949 win which was the second of back-to-back titles for the Eagles.

    Before making any all-time lists try to remember football was a well established sport before the SB era. At least some here are aware of Jim Brown so thats a start.

  43. You guys are too much, Emmitt is trash because he played behind a great line and benefited from being on a great team but Romo is normally trash because he hasn’t won anything and a single player should be able to raise a whole team.

  44. Yes one will because the talented players on defense will retire as well and players with substantial less talent will allow a very good run wild all over! In time

  45. Guys can walk away now because the salaries received far surpass what Smith and his peers could get in the same time span. You actually had to play to make bank. Now you can get his career earnings on one signing bonus or guaranteed money in one contract. They don’t care about records.

  46. Emit Smith was famous for ending plays by running out of bounds. Walter Payton was famous for ending plays by steam rolling through defensive backs.

  47. In the Cowboys’ 90s heyday, Emmitt Smith appeared in a commercial where he told the camera, “It’s my world, you just live in it.”

    Guess he still believes that.

  48. whatjusthapped says:
    Feb 13, 2016 6:41 PM

    Emmitt has a higher opinion of himself than he will ever deserve.

    When it comes to all time greats, Emmitt isn’t even in the same zip code as Barry Sanders or Jim Brown. Ya, I get it that he has the record but hands down, he wasn’t even close to the top 2.
    __________________
    You got that right … as difficult as it is to compare RB’s from different eras … Brown and Sanders are head and shoulders above everyone else. Barring injury, both of them could have played another 5 years or so and piled up the yardage.

  49. If I’m starting a team, I would pick Emmitt over Sanders any day of the week.

    Barry was a highlight and a drive killer the same time. How many times did his jitterbugging around in the back field cause negative yardage? Lots, and then that drive was toast. And at the goal line Barry sucked! Detroit had to bring in a fullback at the goal line and he sucked too!

    You guys can have your random 80 yard run by Sanders. Give me Emmitt and a consistent 4 yards a carry and keep the drive moving.

  50. My grandmother could have run for the same yards as Emmitt Smith behind that behemoth of a line. I think we can all agree that is hands down the greatest offensive line ever put together in the history of football.

    Now, you put Barry behind that line and he’d own every single RB record in the book. You put Emmitt behind the lines Barry suffered through over the years and he’d look like my aforementioned grandmother.

    Barry > Emmitt

  51. Emmitt Smith like Jerry Rice hold the greatest stats at their position without being the most amazing at their position. Congratulations for their accomplishments.

  52. “On the other hand, Smith was the beneficiary of a fantastic run-blocking o-line in Dallas which gave him huge holes to run through and contributed to his longevity. ”

    Why do revisionists always forget that Sanders had a couple of Pro Bowlers on HIS OL too. People make it sound like Sanders ran behind an all girl line.

    Lomas Brown – five time Pro Bowler for Detroit.
    Kevin Glover – three time Pro Bowler for Detroit.

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