Apparently, there was quite a gnashing of teeth from Gator Nation over the weekend because of Emmitt Smith’s 24-minute non-namedrop during his Hall of Fame induction Saturday. Smith eventually and very publicly apologized Sunday night to the University of Florida and its fans during NBC’s broadcast of the Hall of Fame preseason game:
But here’s something that I came across while combing through stories written about Auburn in the Orlando Sentinel, which has a zillion stories about Auburn’s football team for some reason, most of them focusing on the brouhaha that was Coach Terry Bowden’s firing/the reach of meddlin’ Pat Dye and Bobby Lowder/Eric Ramsey/trustees/boosters/black book/whatnot.
Check out this little interesting quote from Smith waaaaaaaaaaaay back in 1993 during the weeklong buildup before the Superbowl where the Dallas Cowboys would WALLOP the Buffalo Bills, 52-17:
“Every year I was there [at Florida], there was some kind of controversy, some kind of dark cloud hanging over us. … It was pure hell down there. … I gave that university everything I could possibly give it.”
Then, Smith mentioned his “fan” mail after he left Gator Nation before his senior season:
“Said I was sorry. Cussed me out. Told me I would never make it in the NFL.”
Yep. Gator Nation sure did send Emmitt Smith off with a nice parting gift there. No wonder he left with such sunny feelings for Gainesville.
But the best part? The very best from the Orlando Sentinel football brief?
Smith told Florida Today‘s Pete Kerasotis and several others with tape recorders he regretted going to Florida, suggesting he might have won the national title or a Heisman Trophy at run-oriented Auburn and lamenting a batch of letters with racial epithets from Gator fans when he left UF a year early.
OH YEAH!!! That’s nice. You can really feel the love there, you know? But I suggest you readers out there pair it with this, Smith’s last shot at beating Auburn, for full enjoyment:
I have that game on VHS somewhere…
People forget he was all set to come to Auburn and changed his mind at the last minute. One of those recruiting coups that happen at the Nth hour.
He was probably wondering why he didn’t come to the greatest college on earth while kneeling on the hallowed field.., WDE!
One of my all time favorite games/moments. I’ve never felt the stadium shake like that at the end!
He was the greatest RB in high school and was down to Auburn and Florida. With our running tandem of Stacy Danley and James Joseph, we won SEC titles. With Emmit we would have won national titles.
I’m so glad to hear that Emmit has seen the error of his ways.
PS: After the 10-7 win thousands of cups from the student section were thrown on the field. It was the wildest night I saw in Jordan Hare.
Emmit was supposed to be a package deal with Stallworth, a DT from Escambia. Stallworth was a year ahead of Emmit,
Thanks for the shout out on the Auburn message board Hobbes!
I have never attended a single Auburn vs. Florida game. I’m going to have to change that someday.
And elcarg, Emmitt saw the error of his ways back in ‘ 93 … but it seems that once again he is in the Gator camp against his better judgment.
Stallworth was a cool dude. He was in some classes of a friend and we’d see him around. With Tracy Rocker, our d-line was stout.
Ronald stallworth never played with Emmitt in highschool. They were from same town but different schools.
Ron Harris says
I remember being at the Citrus Bowl on 1/1/87?? When AU best USC like a drum. At halftime all star football players were recognized. Emmett got the biggest ovation from the AU people because we thought he was coming to Auburn. Yeah, we were shocked when he flipped on signing day. Sigh