It was only fitting that in his first year of eligibility that he was elected to the 2010 Class of Enshrinees to the NFL Pro Football Hall of Fame, finishing off yet another trifecta, as he became the third and final member of the Dallas Cowboys “triplets”, as Michael Irvin, Troy Aikman, and he were known, to enter into the NFL’s most hallowed halls.
As has always been the case, Emmitt was both humble during the press conference on Friday afternoon, as well as thankful for the opportunity that was presented to him. “I’m not worried about my legacy. I think whenever you play a sport and have a chance to touch another person’s life, then that’s great. We are all humans. You command respect, you earn respect, and you give respect. That’s the way it is. This is closure to my athletic career, and that’s it, and no more turning back. You won’t be seeing me on a basketball court, or on another football field (unless I’m standing on the sideline watching my son play), I won’t be playing tennis, I won’t be playing baseball or softball, I WILL be playing golf, but I WON’T be doing anything from the standpoint in my opinion that would be overly risky. I’ve done enough risky things in my life; playing football is risky enough, but you know, it is what it is. It is the final chapter; it’s the closing of the book on an athletic career that in my opinion has been pretty, pretty good, and not only that, pretty consistent at every level. Why would I want to go back out there and play flag football?”
Throughout his life, Emmitt has always given credit to God for the life he has lived, and once again he took the opportunity to thank God. “That’s the foundation that I stand upon. That’s why some people may not be able to understand what I’m talking about—about destiny and good fortunes, and grace and mercy. People can’t understand that because they’re looking for some other reasons why, and those reasons are not really visible. No one has those answers, not even myself. That’s why I say that I’m just thankful that I’ve been blessed to be able to be in a position to be able what I’ve been able to do, because I can’t even describe it to you. I don’t even know the answers, the words, to on a page, or even in a book to describe why God chose me to do what I’ve done. I have no answers for it because you don’t have any answers for it. History will tell you there’s no way the Dallas Cowboys should have picked Emmitt Smith; there’s no way Emmitt Smith should have been playing in the National Football League.”
“They said it when I was in Little League, they said it when I was in high school, and so on, so history will say it itself. That’s why I say my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ has blessed me with talent beyond measure.”
So, while the book will now officially be closed on the athletic career of Emmitt Smith, he will forever more be known as a giant among men in a sport that has been played on the professional level by over 22,000 men. Counting him and his six fellow enshrines in the Class of 2010, there are only 260 members in the Hall. That puts him in the top 1.5% of all the men ever to play this great game of football so many of us love. Well done, thou good and faithful servant, and God Bless You. There’s not a classier man on the planet, and you most certainly deserve the honor bestowed on you in Canton!
The Pro Football Hall of Fame induction ceremonies begin at 6 tonight (ESPN, NFL Network), with former Cowboys great Emmitt Smith scheduled to speak last of the seven players.