Wednesday, October 1, 2003
Emmitt says he'd be on Cowboys if Parcells wanted him
IRVING, Texas -- Emmitt Smith said Wednesday he would still
be a member of the Dallas Cowboys if Bill Parcells had wanted him.
"I think he got what he wanted," Smith said in a conference
call with local reporters. "And he's doing well with what he had.
So, obviously, the decision was good for him."
The Cowboys are 2-1, holding a winning record for the first time
since December 1999, heading into a game Sunday at home against
Smith and the Arizona Cardinals (1-3).
Smith left the Cowboys in late February in what both said was a
mutual decision between the leading rusher in NFL history and team
owner Jerry Jones.
Jones said then, and reiterated this week, that Parcells stayed
out of the process. It was something they settled on the first time
they spoke about Parcells taking the job. Parcells and Smith did
not get together during the eight weeks they overlapped in the
While Parcells' silence on the matter could have been
interpreted as a lack of interest, he said it shouldn't be read
into one way or another.
"I didn't want to get in the middle of that and have an opinion
on something I didn't know much about," Parcells said Wednesday,
several hours before Smith's call. "I didn't know the
ramifications of anything in terms of the salary cap or anything
At the news conference announcing his release, Smith said he
didn't want to be a distraction. He said that if he stayed, his
role would be an ongoing source of controversy.
"I didn't want to put the team through that," he said then.
"I didn't want to put myself through it. There's a clean slate
Jones said something similar Tuesday, saying that Smith's
stature might have become an issue.
"I think our staff would've been more compromised than
Emmitt," he said.
On the conference call Wednesday, Smith was asked whether he
felt the Cowboys let him go because they didn't want him. He asked
for specifics about who didn't want him. Told Parcells, he calmly
said, "Yeah," without elaborating.
Asked how that made him feel, he said, "It is what it is."
Smith spent 13 seasons in Dallas, winning four rushing titles,
helping the Cowboys win three Super Bowls and being named the MVP
of one. His crowning moment came last season when he passed Walter
Payton to become the NFL's career rushing leader.
During training camp, he was quoted in Sports Illustrated as
saying that last season he "felt like a diamond surrounded by
This week, teammates who earlier said it didn't bother them
admit they'll be using that as motivation on Sunday. For the first
time, they also said this week that Smith was part of the problem
"I think sometimes it felt as though the season was based on
him getting his rushing record rather than us having a successful
winning percentage," defensive end Ebenezer Ekuban said. "It was
"We have better things to focus on as a team," Ekuban said,
"and that's winning games."