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Smith Gets None of the Fanfare


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When Reggie White and then Darrell Green went around for a final time in the NFL, there was an outpouring of support from fans and media alike around the league for many years of high caliber play on the field and philanthropic activities initiated off the field.

For Bruce Smith, however, the wind down of his career has been mostly annonymous outside of Washington. And even here Redskins faithful are somewhat ambivalent about Smith as he spent the best years of his career in Buffalo and didn’t become a Redskin until he was 36 years old. At most he is a player that has provided some thrills but also some buyers’ remorse at times as well.

I started to write this before I knew about today's postponed announcement by Smith indicating his retirement, so it is appropriate even more perhaps.

Smith is not an easygoing personality as White and Green were with the media. That accounts for some of the lack of warmth accorded Bruce.

But the fact an 18 year vet with four Super Bowl trips on his resume and 195 career sacks could be all but overlooked on the final weekend of the regular season when two other titans of the game, Emmitt Smith and Darrell Green, posed for a final picture for the press, spoke volumes.

A small portion of it may also be the feeling that Smith will play a 19th season if not in Washington, then perhaps somewhere else in the NFL. But the same can be said for Emmitt Smith, who has not ruled out coming back next season even if it is not in Dallas.

My gut feeling, though, is Smith’s acrimonious departure from Buffalo and his on again/off again relationship with the fans and media THERE made Smith a less than sympathetic figure. The inability of the Bills front office and Smith to work out a compromise to keep Bruce in a NY uniform took him out of the category of a Emmitt or Darrell that has played his entire career with one team, through good times and bad times.

Smith is seen largely as a man waiting around to break a statistical record, not playing the game for the love of it or for the team he took to great heights during his career.

Whether that is fair or not, whether Smith has gotten a raw deal from the media and fans around the league is an open question.

But can anyone out there say they have the same feeling for Bruce as they do for an Emmitt Smith or Darrell Green or Reggie White?

Although it would be nice to summon it, I can’t say that I can either.

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I have a lot of in-laws in Upstate New York and they still follow Smith's career very closely, probably as closely as we do. I think Smith (Bruce Smith that is :) ) suffers from bad timing. Darrell Green and Emmitt Smith have played on the same team their entire careers. Reggie White was still well in his prime when he went to Green Bay. But Smith came to DC in the twilight of his career, and we only know him as an overpriced 'name' who complains too much.

Also, Emmitt, Darrell and Reggie all have rings. I remember Reggie was getting a lot of greif for failing to win a championship ... until he won one. Had Smith come here and contributed to a SB win, I'm sure he'd be well loved around here.

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I think the big thing is Emmitt has been a cowboy for his entire career as was Green, Emmitt is going to play but where is the question. Darrell retired no question about it. Bruce who has already left his original team and has had no "hard" talks of retiring. That is why Bruce did not get the fanfare this weekend.

Darrell and Emmitt are legends on thier respective teams but Bruce is not in hte legend class as a Redskin ,as a Bill, yes ...Redskin..no

I really doubt they had to twist Bruce's arm real hard to come back and get the record

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