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Richardson aims to emulate Smith

Posted Nov 17, 2012

Browns running back Trent Richardson will play against the team his childhood idol, Emmitt Smith, began his Hall of Fame career with in the Dallas Cowboys.

On Sunday, Cleveland Browns running back Trent Richardson and his teammates will play their first road game after the bye week against the Dallas Cowboys, a team he grew up following.

In Pensacola, Fla., Richardson paid close attention to what was happening with the Cowboys because one of their famed “triplets” of star offensive players, running back Emmitt Smith, was a Pensacola native and attended Escambia High School, where Richardson would star years later.

“We’re from the same high school with the same coach and stuff like that,” Richardson said. “Hopefully, he’ll be at the game. There’s a lot of excitement when I’m playing at the same place that somebody who came from my hometown and played and left his whole legendary story there and wrote his whole book of him being a great running back and an elite rusher.”

Smith was one of three Hall of Fame offensive players for the Cowboys during their run to three Super Bowl championships over the four-year period in the mid 1990s, along with quarterback Troy Aikman and wide receiver Michael Irvin.

In his 15-year career with the Cowboys and Arizona Cardinals, Smith ran for an NFL record 18,355 yards, more than 1,600 yards past the previous mark Walter Payton set during his 13 seasons with the Chicago Bears (1975-1987). Smith also set NFL records with 11 1,000-yard rushing seasons, the most consecutive seasons with 1,000 or more yards (11), the most games with 100 or more rushing yards (78), and 164 career rushing touchdowns.

“I wore an Emmitt Smith jersey as a kid,” Richardson said. “That’s one person I said I wanted to be like when I was growing up and for him to be a Hall of Famer and I’m trying to follow in his footsteps, if not do better than what he did, that’s big footsteps to follow into. That goes along with Jim Brown, Walter Payton, guys that I looked up to, watched film on and tried to base my game on.”

Through the first nine games of his career, Richardson has rushed for 575 yards and five touchdowns on 152 carries. He has been on the receiving end of a team-best 31 passes for 240 yards and one touchdown.

Richardson currently ranks second in receptions among NFL rookies and is tied for second, with Washington quarterback Robert Griffin III, in rookie scoring for non-kickers with 36 points. He also ranks third in scrimmage yards (815), rushing yards (575) and first downs (31) for rookies.

Richardson is proud to say that he is one of 14 current NFL players, including Browns defensive tackle Ahtyba Rubin, that are natives of Pensacola and says he talks with Smith two or three times a month.

“Emmitt is one of those types of guys; he’s going to tell you straight up what’s going on and he’s been telling me the whole time, ‘Just keep doing what you’re doing,’” Richardson said. “He liked the way I stood up and spoke to the team and how I’m trying to be a leader and lead by example if I’m not saying anything. He likes how I’m putting on a big show for everybody.”

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