Early Word: Bye, Bye Emmitt

According to sources close to the Dallas Cowboys, Emmitt Smith will no longer be with the team next season. Jerry Jones has urged the future Hall of Famer, and the NFL's all-time leading rusher, to retire. Could this possibly open the door for Stephen Davis?

The speculation will finally end soon.

Based on several reports out of Valley Ranch that have been received throughout the day, it appears as though Emmitt Smith's days wearing the Silver Star are now over.

Smith missed the first team meeting with new head coach Bill Parcells earlier this afternoon when attended a ceremony in his honor in Austin.

While the Cowboys' organization has continually denied that Smith's absence was not indicative about his future with the team, it appears as though today is only the beginning of the end. A formal announcement on his future with the team is expected tomorrow.

It is believed that Jerry Jones has tried to convince Emmitt to retire, but just as he's indicated time and time again, he'll have no part of it.

"I can still play this game," Emmitt Smith said earlier this year. "I can still do it, and I plan on doing it until I no longer can. All you guys want to talk about me retiring, but it hasn't gotten to that point yet."

Smith will leave the Cowboys having played in 201 games, rushing 4052 times for 17162 yards and 153 touchdowns. The total rushing yardage of just over 17,000 is the top mark ever achieved by a single player in the National Football League.

With the impending departure of Smith, the Cowboys will now likely try their hand in free agency in order to fill their needs at running back in 2003.

ESPN's Chris Mortensen reported earlier today that the Cowboys would likely not be in a position to make a move for any of the big names available; however, several sources have already confirmed that Bill Parcells is very much interested in acquiring former Redskin running back Stephen Davis.

Davis, who turns 29 later this week, left Washington as the Redskins' #3 all-time rusher with 5,790 yards. He is the only player in franchise history to run for 1,000 yards in three consecutive seasons.

He also fits the mold of a Bill Parcells type of running back. He's big, he's quick, and he gets stronger as the game goes on.

Davis had just 207 carries for 820 yards in last season playing for new head coach Steve Spurrier, compared with an average of 326 carries for 1,385 yards in the three previous seasons.

The Redskins decided to move in a different direction at running back with Steve Spurrier calling the shots. Spurrier's offense centers around the passing game, with the running back having more pure speed and the ability to catch the ball out of the backfield.

While Parcells hasn't given up completely on reserve running back Troy Hambrick, early returns are that the new coaching staff doesn't feel like he will be one to take the team back to the playoffs.

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