Emmitt Smith talks Peterson, rushing records

Emmitt Smith said patience is needed in addressing Adrian Peterson’s pursuit of the rushing records and believes that conversation is premature.

Emmitt Smith believes Adrian Peterson should be back on the football field, despite Peterson’s desire to break Smith’s records and become the all-time leader rusher in NFL history.

However, Smith knows that isn’t going to happen anytime soon. Smith holds the career rushing records for most attempts (4,409), yards (18,355), most seasons with 1,000 yards rushing (11), most games with at least 100 yards rushing (78) and rushing touchdowns (164).

Although Peterson’s 2,054 carries aren’t even halfway to Smith’s career total, he is more than halfway to the career yardage total with 10,190 and exactly halfway to the rushing touchdowns total (82).

But while Peterson continues to fight a suspension for violating the personal conduct policy, a suspension issued by the league that would carry into the 2015 season if he doesn’t win his appeal, Smith says people should be patient with Peterson’s pursuit of his record.

“Why do people consistently want to know what chance a person’s got?” Smith told Viking Update when asked about Peterson during Super Bowl week. “He has every chance to do everything that he wants to do in the National Football League, once he gets on the football field, as any other player. But it’s not going to happen in one year. He’s four or five years away from it. Give him a chance to get there. We’re talking too early. It’s a premature conversation right now, so give the man a chance.”

Smith believes Peterson should be given the chance to get back on the field in short order, saying “the guy should be back playing football.” Peterson’s suspension was issued after he spent most of the 2014 season on the commissioner’s exempt list while he went through the legal process of facing felony child abuse charges in Texas, and then was suspended for the final three games of the season after he pleaded no contest to a lesser charge of misdemeanor reckless assault.

Peterson was forced to miss 15 games of the 2014 season, his eighth year in the league. He will turn 30 years old next month. Smith spent 15 years in the league, and the only season in which he missed more than two games was in 2003, his second-to-last year in the NFL, when he missed six games. He said a running back being in his 30s makes a difference in his performance.

“It does, but to each their own. Everybody’s different and Adrian’s proven to be a different kind of back because I’ve never seen anybody bounce back from a knee injury the way he did, so there’s no telling,” Smith said. “He had a whole year off. Ain’t no telling if that year gave his body a chance to heal up some more and get better and stay hungry. But he has to get back on the football field and I think it all begins from there. At that point, we’ll take it one year at a time, one game at a time and see what happens. He has just as good a chance at doing anything that he wanted to achieve as the next man. But it begins on the football field.”

Peterson has said in the past that Smith was one of the players he admired growing up, and the two have talked in the past, but not recently. Smith declined to divulged the topic of their talks.

“I have spoken to him a couple times. I don’t necessarily talk to him about football or everything. It’s about whatever he wants to talk about,” he said. “It’s more: I appreciate him as a talent and I think he appreciated me as a talent as well, and if he wants any wisdom from me, I’ll let him ask.”

As for Peterson’s pursuit of the career rushing records, Smith continued to preach patience and reiterate that that discussion won’t go anywhere until Peterson’s suspension is lifted.

“He’s not on the football field. What chances do he have (at the records)?” Smith inquired. “It all begins with him being on the football field.”

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