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Emmitt Smith snubs Gators in Hall of Fame induction speech



rsz_esmith.jpgWhen former Florida running back Emmitt Smith was enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame Saturday night, he mentioned nearly everyone and everything that has had an impact on his life and storied career.

Except for the University of Florida.

Smith's emotional, impassioned and motivational induction speech never included his alma mater. He did mention that he promised his mother he would eventually finish "college', but never said University of Florida. Early in his speech, he thanked his high school coach and offensive coordinator, then moved on to his days with the Dallas Cowboys, without reference to his playing days at Florida.

If it makes Florida fans feel any better, Smith also failed to mention the final year of his playing career, which he spent with the Arizona Cardinals.

Smith graduated from Escambia High School in Pensacola and played for the Gators from 1987-89. During his time with the Gators, he broke the school record for most career rushing yards with 3,928. He was named the SEC Player of the Year in 1989 and was drafted 17th overall by the Dallas Cowboys in the 1990 NFL Draft.

Florida coach Urban Meyer was among a group of University Athletic Association officials who traveled to Canton, Ohio for the induction ceremony. Meyer used Twitter to chronicle the day's events - including conversations with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, a private tour of the Hall of Fame and catching up with former Gators Andre Caldwell, Carlos Dunlap, Max Starks and Maurkice Pouncey.

Meyer issued this statement after the ceremony: “It’s a great day for the Gator Nation. I am extremely happy for Emmitt and his family and it was an honor to be on hand watching Emmitt’s induction."

Smith leads the NFL in both all-time rushing yards (18,355) and touchdowns (164), and won three Super Bowl championships in his career. He was named the league MVP in 1993 and was selected to the Pro Bowl eight times. He is one of two Gators to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, joining former Gator defensive end Jack Youngblood, who was enshrined in 2001.

[Photo: Mark Duncan/AP]

[Last modified: Sunday, August 8, 2010 1:13am]


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