Emmitt Smith talks turning down Steve Spurrier's offense, a classic Deion Sanders story and his current 40 time
Florida legend Emmitt Smith recently joined The Saturday Down South Podcast to talk about a variety of topics. Smith joined SDS on half of Johnsonville, which is the official sausage of the SEC. Johnsonville’s #SECHomegateProContest allows fans to complete the various homegate-themed challenges for a chance to win $10,000, join Johnsonville on its 2021 SEC Tailgate Tour featuring the Big Taste Grill and attend an SEC Championship Game. Emmitt launched the first of 6 challenges, and is asking fans to show off their juke moves. Check out his Johnsonville Juke on his social media pages @EmmittSmith22.
The following was an excerpt from Smith’s interview with The SDS Podcast. To listen to it in its entirety, click here.
CONNOR O’GARA: I want to go back to your junior year at Florida. You have exactly the year you’re hoping for, you’re a unanimous All-American, then Florida hires this guy by the name of “Steve Spurrier,” and you’re like, nah, I’m not stickin’ around this pass-happy offense. Obviously, you had a ton of success early in your NFL career, but looking back, was there a part of you that wished you got to play in Spurrier’s offense?
EMMITT SMITH: Not really because the decision came down to a couple things. One, did I want to stick around for my senior year and learn a brand new offense and not know how I would adjust or how my style of play would fit in it. Two, also take the risk of getting injured during my senior year. And the third component was what was left for me to do? Break more records? Perhaps? I mean, what was left for me to do?
Just about everything I could possibly do outside of winning an SEC Championship. And that’s the part that I do regret never happening while I was there. Obviously, I wanted to do that with my freshman class and so forth, but I had done just about everything I could possibly do for the University of Florida at that time. It was time for me to make a different type of decision.
O’GARA: Last year, Florida opened the season against Miami (FL). I have to imagine that you and Michael Irvin had some sort of wager on that game. Please tell us what that was.
SMITH: Well, if we have a standing wager, it’s pretty much $100, but we never collect on it.
CHRIS MARLER: Emmitt, I’ve gotta say first off, “what other records do I gotta break,” what an all-time line. I lost it. I can’t say how much I appreciate that. Best Deion Sanders story?
SMITH: We’re playing the New York Giants on Monday Night Football, and we’re beating them pretty handily. They take some of the starters out and Deion is one of the starters. They put in another cornerback by the name of Kevin Mathis, and I think (Kent) Graham is the (Giants) quarterback at the time. Graham is dropping back, doing his 5-step or his 7-step drop back and throwing this out route towards Kevin Mathis. And they had probably did it 3 or 4 times during 2 different series, and they were making that connection.
Deion is on the sidelines without his helmet telling — he called (Mathis) lil’ fella — ‘Lil fella, lil fella. They comin’ right at you. Look at the splits of the wide receiver, etc., etc.’ And they call another one. Deion snatches his helmet, runs on the field and says ‘Get off the field, get off the field.’
And I don’t think Graham realized that Deion came on to the field. He put his helmet on and Graham throws the same old out route. Prime stepped right in front of it, took it back to the house, high-stepped about 50 yards into the end zone with his hand on the back of his head. He comes to the sideline and goes, ‘And that’s how you do it,’ and takes his helmet off.
O’GARA: Emmitt, I feel like we always do this thing with Barry Sanders where we’re like, Barry could still roll out of bed and get 100 yards in an NFL game. But even though you played much longer, you’re still a year younger than Barry, so I’ve got a 2-part question for you. One, how many rushing yards are you getting if (Ezekiel Elliott) lets you fill in for him on Sunday, and two, what’s Emmitt Smith’s current 40 time?
SMITH: First and foremost, Zeke is gonna have zero yards if Emmitt Smith is gonna have anything to do with it cause I’m not running. And 40 time? It’s a slow walk.
To listen to the interview in its entirety, click here.