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Former Cowboy RB Emmitt Smith speaks on NFL draft, post-football career


NFL all-time rushing leader, three-time Super Bowl champion with the Dallas Cowboys and member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Emmitt Smith spoke at the PwC SMU Athletic Forum luncheon Tuesday about humble beginnings, the upcoming NFL draft and Johnny Manziel.

“From the world of sports itself, I’ve learned about overcoming fears, overcoming challenges, overcoming intimidation, and learning how to prepare myself physically, mentally, emotionally, learning how to perform under pressure,” Smith said. “All different types of things that football and sport has taught me but equipped me for life in a different way.”

The PwC SMU Athletic Forum was launched in 1989 as a community outreach initiative that brings to the Dallas community individuals who have achieved extraordinary success in athletics.

A former “Dancing with the Stars” champion, Smith said it’s exciting to see his friend Von Miller and Steeler’s running back Antonio Brown transform their bodies into ballroom style dancers.

“As football players, we’re not perceived as graceful, but the reality is, being a tremendous athlete like these guys are, they show a lot of grace on the football field,” Smith said.

Johnny Manziel, however, did not receive such praise from Smith.

“He has a problem. He needs to go get some help. He needs to take it very seriously if he wants to take this game very seriously,” Smith said. “The National Football League … has given him every opportunity to be a football player.”

In the upcoming NFL draft, Smith thinks trading down and getting more picks would be in the Cowboy’s best interest. He said defense is what led the Broncos to win the Super Bowl this year.

“I think we definitely need to bolster our defense up front. I know [Joey] Bosa is a very good pick at number four, but can we get two Bosa’s in the first three rounds? Can we get three good quality defensive players to upgrade our defense on that side of the ball?” Smith said.

Smith said the Cowboys have a solid quarterback, solid running backs, and solid tight ends, which he believes are potential hall of famers. He was quick to praise the one-two punch of RB Darren McFadden and RB Alfred Morris.

Outside of his football career, Smith has worked on real estate development, brokerage services, property management, Emmitt Smith Celebrity Golf Invitational, starting a technology company and a few television appearances to top it all off.

“We strive to do things big and do them right,” Smith said. “Why not? We live in Texas.”

Smith also spoke about how reluctant he was to film a reality television show, “Mr. & Mrs. Smith.” His sports career led him to agree to the show, which aired March 26 on OWN.

“Win, lose, or draw, you have to look at the tape,” Smith said. “And doing a reality TV show gave me an opportunity to go back and reevaluate myself and see how well I responded and better myself and better the way that I treat my wife or talk to my wife and kids.”

Though Smith’s professional and personal lives are busy, he still has time to concoct outlandish “Game of Thrones” conspiracies.


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