Emmitt Smith wonders how much longer Tony Romo can play
JUN 24, 2014 1:59p ET
Emmitt Smith retired as a Dallas Cowboy at 35. The punishment his body sustained from carrying the ball over 4,700 times in 15 seasons took a toll on the NFL's all-time leading rusher.
"The hits don't feel the same at 35 as they did when I was 21," Smith said Tuesday.
Playing quarterback is much different than running back, so Smith isn't completely shooting down Romo's prediction.
"Yeah, I think it's possible," Smith said. "But is it going to happen? You have to take one year at a time. For Romo, who is coming off a back surgery, you just don't know how your body is going to respond."
Romo was limited during organized team activities and minicamp. He should be more involved when training camp opens next month. But as Smith noted, no one will actually know if Romo is healthy until he starts getting hit.
Smith has been working with Takeda Pharmaceuticals to raise awareness about gout management and treatment. He had his first gout flare-up in 2010, but has since taken the proper preventative measures, including regular doctor visits and monitoring his uric acid levels.
Smith, who made eight Pro Bowls in 13 seasons with the Cowboys, talked a little bit about what went into his decision to retire from the NFL in February 2005.
"After 15 years of being in the locker room, doing the same old monotonous things, offseason training, OTAs, training camp, football road trips, all of that, it got to be old," Smith said. "Not to mention, as you start to see some of your compadres leave the game, whether it's Troy [Aikman], Michael [Irvin], Daryl Johnston, Jay Novacek, Charles Haley and many other players start to retire, part of you starts to retire with them.
"For me, after 15 years, and having a chance to reflect on my career, I was able to look back and say, 'I have won three Super Bowls, I was named MVP, I am the all-time leading rusher, I was able to play on great football teams, and played for the team that I always wanted to play for. There isn't anything else left for me to accomplish in the National Football League, so why continue to play and subject myself to the possibility of getting injured and hurting myself in a way that could harm me for life?'"