The National Football League's all-time rushing leader Emmitt Smith has retired after helping lead the Dallas Cowboys to three Super Bowl titles. Smith, is assured of being a first-ballot inductee to the NFL Hall of Fame.
The running back, 36, rushed for 18,355 yards and 164 touchdowns in his career, both NFL records.
Smith played 13 seasons with Dallas and helped lead the Cowboys to three Super Bowl titles, in 1992, 1993, and 1995.
An emotional Emmitt Smith fought back tears at an afternoon news conference and said his career was "a tremendous ride." Appearing with Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, Smith said he was grateful for the chance to play in the NFL. "You gave a young man from Pensacola (Florida) an opportunity,." he said. "And I gladly accepted that opportunity. And I hope in my mind and in my heart that I did not disappoint you in the 13 years that I worked for you. And I am hoping that I represented that star (the Cowboys' emblem) in the fashion that it deserved to be represented."
Smith spent the past two seasons with Arizona, rushing for 937 yards in 15 starts last season. But Cowboys' owner Jerry Jones told Smith that his place in Dallas history was secure. "Your place with the Dallas Cowboys, your place in what we are about as a franchise has always been secure. And that is certainly why I am here today, and I am really honored to get to be here. It has always been secure. You were always a Dallas Cowboy," he said.
Jones traded Smith to Arizona two years ago because of salary cap issues. The 15-year veteran finishes his career second only to Jerry Rice of Seattle on the all-time list of total yards (rushing and receiving) with 21-thousand-579 and 179 touchdowns.