THE EMMITT ZONE by Emmitt with Steve Delsohn Smith

THE EMMITT ZONE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Smith offers a straightforward account of the heady world of professional football as he describes his recent seasons as the premier running back of ""America's Team,"" the Dallas Cowboys. In telling how a poor Florida boy became a multimillion-dollar star, Smith shows that modern football plays many roles in America today: It's an art, a thing of magic, a way of life -- but most of all a gritty and competitive business (and for stars like Smith, a lucrative profession). Smith talks about his sandlot heroics, his childhood dream of becoming a star for the Cowboys, and the constant doubts his size raised about his ability to compete (in childhood he was too big, as a pro too small, said his detractors). Smith's account of his football career is, however, a success story from the beginning: He was a standout in high school and at the University of Florida. Dismayed, he says, by the instability of the Florida program, Smith left prior to his senior year in order to participate in the NFL draft. Picking Smith in the first round, Cowboys coach Jimmy Johnson signed him for $3 million for three years (throughout Smith's account, stories of his numerous contract negotiations loom as large as his tales of on-field feats). With the Cowboys, Smith emerged as a player of big words and big deeds, making cocksure comments but placing first among rookie rushers his first season, subsequently leading the NFL in rushing, becoming the youngest player to rush for 1,500 yards, appearing in three Pro Bowls, and leading his team to consecutive Super Bowl victories. Smith's account, written with the help of Delsohn (coauthor of John Wayne, My Father, not reviewed) culminates in his amazing 1993 season, when he won the rushing title, the season MVP award, and the MVP award for the Super Bowl. A pleasant, absorbing look at life in the NFL -- from the top.

Pub Date: Sept. 21st, 1994
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Crown