Emmitt Smith is a former American football running back who, during his all-time professional career, ranked first among National Football League, NFL rushing yards leaders by total yards gained (18,355).
Only the 1990s sports fans would appreciate the legend that is Smith. He was known to live up to expectations in the field. While playing for Escambia High School, he broke every high school rushing record in the state of Florida and set several school rushing records in his three-year college career with the Florida Gators.
In 1993, Smith became the only player in that position to ever win the NFL Most Valuable Player award, a Super Bowl championship, the Super Bowl Most Valuable Player award and the NFL rushing crown – all in one season. With the Dallas Cowboys team, Smith played and won three SuperBowl championships (1992, 1993 and 1995), a conquest that has never occurred before at the time.
Emmitt Smith’s Biography
Emmitt James Smith was born in Pensacola, Florida on May 15, 1969, as the son of Emmitt James Smith, Jr. and Mary J. Smith. He was raised by his parents amidst his five siblings; three brothers – Emory Smith, Erik Smith, Emil Smith; and two sisters – Connie Smith and Marsha Smith.
Growing up in the states, his life’s activities were engulfed in sports starting from high school.
While attending Escambia High School in Pensacola, Smith played football and ran track for the Escambia Gators, leading the team to win the state football championship. He rushed for 8,804 yards and 106 touchdowns, which was at the time, the second most yard coverage in the history of American high school football.
An initial sports analysis described young Smith as a slow one who can’t get around the corner; small at a height of 1.75 meters (5 ft 9 in), weighed 96 kg (212 pounds) and lacked great speed. But to prove such critic wrong, he ended up becoming an eight-time Pro Bowler and a three-time Super Bowl champion.
Sports Pro Career
After nearly missing the chance to play as a college recruit, Smith got an athletic scholarship into the University of Florida in Gainesville.
This can be credited to his high school football achievements which include
- Breaking the 2,000-yard rushing mark twice in a season;
- Appearing on USA Today and Parade magazine as the high school player of the year 1986;
- Being recognized by All-Century Team as among the 33 greatest Florida high school football players of the last 100 years.
- Plus, he was a member of the 4 × 100 m (42.16 s) relay squad.
With such accolades, Smith started playing for the Florida Gators where he stayed for three seasons (1987 – 1989). While on his first start of the game, he broke the state of Florida’s 57-year-old all-time single-game rushing record.
The legend also broke the 1,000-yard barrier in the seventh game as a freshman, he finished the 1987 season with 1,341 yards; finished 9th on Heisman voting that year and was named Southeastern Conference and National Freshman of the Year.
In his fifteen years of playing as a professional with two major American football franchise – 2 years with the Arizona Cardinals and 13 years with his dream team, the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys, Smith’s records include:
- Eight Pro Bowls and four first-team All-Pro awards.
- Rushing touchdowns (164) and rushing attempts (4,409) yards (18,355).
- His 81.2 yards per game average ranks 15th all-time.
Playing with the Cowboys in 1993, Smith became the highest paid running back in the league, posting 1,486 rushing yards, 9 touchdowns. He helped his team become the first to win a Super Bowl after starting the season on a 0-2 fail. They won two more Super Bowl Championships in 1994 and 1996. Also, for his performance on the field at Super Bowl XXVIII, he won the MVP honor in 1994.
In 1998 and 1999, Emmitt Smith became Cowboys’ all-time leading rusher; all-time rushing touchdown leader; all-time leader in career postseason rushing yards (1,586) and postseason rushing touchdowns (19).
Thanks to his 1,021 rushing yards in 2001, the Cowboy legend became the first player in the history of NFL to post 11 consecutive 1,000-yard seasons. The following year, he attained his targeted goal as a rookie, which is to finish the year with 17,162 career yards and by so doing, he broke the NFL rushing record previously held by Walter Payton.
Emmitt Smith suffered few injuries during his active years, from his knee to a broken left shoulder blade. He sustained the first injury on his knee and had to stay out of action for several weeks. During that time, the Gators lost four games in a row, the team was unable to muster a single touchdown over 14 quarters of every game. With his return from the injury leave, the team bounced back to complete the season 7-5, as well as winning in the 1988 All-American Bowl.
On March 26, 2003, while Smith was on a 2-year contract as a free agent with the Arizona Cardinals, he sustained a second injury, a broken left shoulder blade and had to sit out a highly anticipated game against the Dallas Cowboys in which the Cardinals lost 7-24. Smith missed 6 games at the time. Nevertheless, he finished the season with 256 rushing yards and averaged just 2.8 yards per carry. Despite battling with a hamstring pull while with the Cowboys, he reached a new career-high with 21 rushing touchdowns in 1993.
Smith announced his retirement from the NFL on February 3, 2005, at age 35, three days before Super Bowl XXXIX. It was after his contract ended with the Cardinals and was not re-signed by the franchise. He chose to retire with the Cowboys and signed a one-day contract for one dollar with the team he had played with for most of his career.
In his emotional retirement speech, Smith expressed how much the star [Dallas Cowboys] meant to him. He also thanked the Cardinals for letting him play two more years towards retirement, adding that he was moving on to another chapter of his life and pretty much looked forward to it. And so he did!
The legend was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame and the Dallas Cowboys Ring of Honor.
He participated and won the third season of Dancing with the sports stars with dance partner, Cheryl Burke
He served as a sports analyst for the ESPN and NFL Network.
He currently runs the real estate company, ESmith Legacy which he co-founded with business partner Roger Staubach.
Every April 23rd is Emmitt Smith’s day in his hometown, Pensacola Fla. It was the day he was first drafted by the Dallas Cowboys.
Johnson, the assistant coach with the New England Patriots, described Smith as ‘a guy with the eye of a demon, one that ran the ball with a passion, had great vision and a small guy that didn’t play small.’
Smith has immersed quite a fortune both playing the prestigious sport and wise investments. His net worth is $50 million. His 2 years contract with the Cardinals was worth $8 million.
Family, Wife Patricia Southall, Son
Emmitt Smith and his wife Patricia Southhallhaves been married since 2000. The couple met at a music festival in Aruba and began a long-distance relationship.
Patricia is a former Miss Virginia who contested for Miss USA in 1994. She is also the former wife of comedian and actor, Martin Lawrence (1995-1997). Inspired by her past and not so smooth experiences, Pat became the author of Second Chances.
She explained in an interview that Smith got his ex-girlfriend pregnant while they were dating. But through prayers and therapy, she made the decision to marry the athlete.
Eighteen years and counting, Smith and his wife, Patricia are still coupled and doing great things together. They have a reality show on OWN network called Mr. & Mrs. Smith and established the Pat and Emmitt Smith Charities.
Besides their accomplishments, the two are parents to five kids Skylar Smith, Rheagan Smith, and Emmitt Smith IV. Smith has a son, EJ Smith, from his ex-partner and Pat has a daughter named Jasmine Page Lawrence, from her previous marriage.
Smith’s older son EJ Smith is also a football player who recently became a star recruit, playing running back. The young Smith announced on social media that he has been offered a scholarship at the University of Florida.
The Smith family presently lives in Dallas, Texas.