LANDOVER, MD - DECEMBER 29: Detail of the jersey belonging to running back Emmitt Smith #22 of the Dallas Cowboys during the NFL game against the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field on December 29, 2002 in Landover, Maryland. The Redskins defeated the Cowboys 20-14. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Love them or hate them you can't help but admit, Dallas Cowboys Emmitt Smith is one of the greatest players ever to play the game. In fact he has been called the greatest running back to ever play the game. And on Saturday night he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. "It is an honor to achieve this level of success," said Smith. "Now I need to take a moment to reflect upon the people who helped shape the foundation of who I am as a man and also a football player."
Smith was the last inductee in the 2010 class to take the podium, following greats including Jerry Rice and Floyd Little. At times sounding like a proud preacher, Smith's speech was one of inspiration and gratitude. "Thank you to all of the fans, especially the Dallas Cowboys fans in Dallas, throughout the United States and around the world," said Smith. "You have always been there supporting us. When things got rough and we needed your energy you provided, when we became victorious it was your energy that lifted us as you celebrated with us. Without a doubt you are as much of a part of America's team as the players are."
In his 12 years with the Cowboys Smith took home 3 Super Bowl rings, was Super Bowl MVP in 1993 and is the first player from the 1990 draft to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. "When I was 6 years old, I was watching the Dallas Cowboys on television with my father and some of our relatives, I clearly remember turning to my father and saying one day I'm gonna play professional football, and I'm gonna play for the Dallas Cowboys," said Smith.
In his career he rushed for 18-thousand-355 yards, completed 164 rushing touchdowns and is fourth on the all time receiving list. "This team (the Dallas Cowboys) means more to me than just another professional football team," said Smith. "And that's why I always did everything in my power to help make this organization and team the very best it could possibly be."
Surrounded by family, friends and fans, an emotional Smith took the podium at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio to bask in his moment. Fellow triples, Troy Aikman and Michael Irvin were also in Canton to cheer on their former teammate and friend. "It has truly, truly, truly, been an honor to go into battle with two of the greatest champions I have ever played with," said Smith. "Without you there is no me that is why we are called the triplets."
But when Smith addressed his teammate Daryl "Moose" Johnston, he couldn't hold back his tears. "Daryl, you mean the world to me, not just because we shared the same backfield but because you sacrificed so much for me," said Smith. "People don't understand what it took to be a fullback in our system. The sacrifices you made, not just with your body but with your whole spirit, you took care of me as if you were taking care of your little brother. Without you, without you, I know today would not have been possible. I love you Daryl from the bottom of my heart."