Emmitt Smith apologizes for overlooking Gators in acceptance speech
One day after delivering arguably the most impressive acceptance speech of the 2010 Pro Football Hall of Fame inductees, former Florida running back Emmitt Smith apologized both on Twitter and on national television for his failure to mention his alma mater in his speech during the enshrinement ceremony on Saturday night.
During a break in Sunday night's Hall of Fame game telecast, Smith told NBC's Al Michaels there was no malice, he simply forgot to mention the Gators. Smith spoke for 24 minutes - without notes or a teleprompter. He said he was originally supposed to speak for just 20 minutes. In the excitement of the evening, Smith said he inadvertently overlooked the Gators.
"I forgot one most important ingredient, my Gator Nation," Smith said. "I sincerely apologize for not recognizing the University of Florida, Urban Meyer, Jeremy Foley (UF athletic director) and all the Gator Nation, because the Gator Nation truly helped me get on a platform at the collegiate level which led to where I am at right now here in Canton."
Rumors swirled on the internet and fan chat rooms all day Sunday about a possible rift between Smith and former UF coach Steve Spurrier, and possible tension between Smith and Foley. But Smith has returned to UF on numerous occasions, including as a spectator on the sideline at football games. He also attended a ceremony in which he was inducted into Florida's Ring of Honor in 2006 and the UF Athletic Hall of Fame.
"I sincerely sincerely apologize for not mentioning u last night in my hof speech,'' Smith wrote on Twitter. "Gator Nation I jus got caught up in everything plz charge it to my mind not my heart!! Once a GATOR always a GATOR I loved everything the U of florida gave me."