Cowboys Lash Out at Emmitt

Sports Illustrated published comments by Emmitt Smith this past week saying he felt like "a diamond surrounded by trash" with the Cowboys last season.

But Smith's former teammate and fellow running back Troy Hambrick, who figures to get most of the Cowboys' carries this season, had a question: "Who did he consider a diamond?"

Hambrick, who also called Smith a good friend and teammate Friday morning, added, "He's always been out of bounds. He's always dressed it up in a professional way. Now you guys understand. I'm not the only one who says bad things."

"If we're trash, he's trash, too, because he was here last year," offensive tackle Flozell Adams said. "I noticed he didn't say anything while he was here."

In the SI article, Smith also described his frustration with the team's poor record in 2002 and his teammates' selfishness. Last season, the Cowboys finished 5-11 for the third consecutive season. The one highlight, Smith said, was when he passed Walter Payton to become the NFL's all-time leading rusher.

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones took Smith's comments in stride, saying, "Emmitt couldn't express himself in any way that disappointed me. He's been too substantive personally, as well as I know how bad he wants to win and how hard he works. The wealth of positive collateral that Emmitt has built with me personally and, frankly, with this organization. He is a part of the history of the Dallas Cowboys, and so that is a deep well of benefit-of-the-doubt collateral, and, like I said, we were all disappointed last year."

Most Cowboys players declined to comment without first reading the article, including quarterback Quincy Carter, veteran safety Darren Woodson and second-year wide receiver Anthony Bryant.

Defensive end Greg Ellis said the quotes were probably accurate, but taken out of context: "I think it was just some kind of misunderstanding between Emmitt and the writer. I can't see Emmitt saying those kinds of things and meaning it that way."

Public statements or not, any tension over Smith's statements could add intrigue to the Cowboys' Aug. 9 preseason game against the Arizona Cardinals, Smith's new team. Hambrick, for one, said, "I hope when we meet up with Arizona, we'll rub it in the dirt a little bit."

The teams also play October 5th at Texas Stadium.

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