- Smith, Emmitt
U.S. football player.He set 58 school football records at the University of Florida, and as a running back for the Dallas Cowboys of the NFL since 1990, he helped his team win three Super Bowl games. In 1995 he set the all-time NFL record for touchdowns in a single season (25), and he holds the record for most career rushing touchdowns (125). In 2002 he surpassed Walter Paytonto become the NFL's all-time leading rusher.
* * *▪ 2003With an 11-yd run in the fourth quarter of a game against the Seattle Seahawks on Oct. 28, 2002, Dallas Cowboys running back Emmitt Smith eclipsed the National Football League (NFL) career rushing record of 16,726 yd that had been set 15 years earlier by Chicago Bears great Walter Payton. The record had been a goal for Smith ever since he entered the NFL in 1990. Because of his relatively small size—he stood only 1.75 m (5 ft 9 in) tall and weighed 96 kg (212 lb)—and lack of great foot speed, however, some experts had initially doubted whether Smith could survive in the NFL. Like Payton—another undersized back who lacked breakaway speed—Smith relied on his strength, doggedness, and superb conditioning to help him succeed. He ultimately proved himself to be one of the NFL's most durable players at any position; in 13 seasons he had failed to start in only two games. “Walter Payton is the best running back of all time,” Smith declared after breaking the record of the player he had modeled himself after. “That's why, for me, the record is such a tremendous opportunity to do something no man has ever done.”Emmitt James Smith III was born in Pensacola, Fla., on May 15, 1969. He excelled early in football, starring in youth leagues and, by the time he had finished high school, earning national Player of the Year honours from Parade magazine, among other publications. He played three years (1987–89) at the University of Florida, racking up 58 school records before entering the NFL draft. The Cowboys selected him in the draft's first round, and Smith soon established himself as one of the league's premier running backs. He was named NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year in 1990 and the following season ran for 1,563 yd to capture the first of his NFL rushing titles.Smith went on to win rushing titles in both 1992 and 1993, becoming only the fourth player in NFL history to win three consecutive rushing crowns. More important, in those two seasons he led the Cowboys to back-to-back Super Bowl wins. Against the Buffalo Bills in Super Bowl XXVII, Smith ran for 108 yd. Dallas faced Buffalo again in Super Bowl XXVIII, in which Smith ran for 132 yd and was named Super Bowl Most Valuable Player. He also claimed league MVP honours that season. In 1995 Smith set a single-season NFL record with 25 rushing touchdowns, won his fourth league rushing title with 1,773 yd, and capped the season by powering the Cowboys to victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XXX. By the end of 1999, he not only had become the Cowboys' all-time leading rusher but was also the NFL's all-time leader in both postseason rushing yards and postseason rushing touchdowns.In 2001, after Smith had surpassed Detroit Lions running back Barry Sanders for the number two spot on the NFL's all-time rushing list, experts and fans alike began to speculate on how long it might take him to break Payton's record. After finally having accomplished his goal in 2002, Smith announced that he was setting his sights on a once-unimaginable feat—reaching 20,000 yd before his retirement from the sport.Sherman Hollar
* * *▪ American football playerin full Emmitt James Smith IIIborn May 15, 1969, Pensacola, Fla., U.S.American gridiron football player, who in 2002 became the all-time leading rusher in National Football League (NFL) history. He retired after the 2004 season with 18,355 yards rushing. He also holds records for most rushing touchdowns in a career (164) and in a single season (25 in 1995).Smith excelled early in football, starring in youth leagues and, by the time he finished high school, earning national Player of the Year honours from Parade magazine, among other publications. He played three years (1987–89) at the University of Florida (in Gainesville), racking up 58 school records before being selected in the first round of the NFL draft by the Dallas Cowboys. Smith soon established himself as one of the league's premier running backs. He was named NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year in 1990 and the following season ran for 1,563 yards to capture the first of his four NFL rushing titles (the other three were in 1992–93, 1995). He led the Cowboys to back-to-back Super Bowl wins over the Buffalo Bills following the 1992 and 1993 seasons. In 1993 he earned Most Valuable Player trophies for both the regular season and the Super Bowl. A third Super Bowl championship followed the 1995 season. After the 2002 season Smith was released by the Cowboys and signed by the Arizona Cardinals.Though Smith was relatively small—he stood only 1.75 metres (5 feet 9 inches) tall and weighed 96 kg (212 pounds)—and lacked great speed, he thrived in the NFL by relying on his strength, doggedness, and superb conditioning. He ultimately proved to be one of the NFL's most durable players at any position; between 1990 and 2002 he failed to start in only two games.
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