Best of Emmitt Smith: Why this could be Jason Garrett’s last year; does he have advice for Ezekiel Elliott?

Here’s some of Emmitt Smith’s best clips and takes from the last few months.

On Ezekiel Elliott

Background: Smith was discussing his relationship, or lack thereof, with Ezekiel Elliott, and what advice he has for the Cowboys running back.

What Smith said: “I wouldn’t say [we have] a great relationship. I think we have a mutual respect for one another. I think Zeke is a great addition to the Dallas Cowboys and will make a big difference when he gets back.”

“What I would say is that the world right now is so polarizing. You have to be extra careful in terms of what you do, where you do it and how you go about doing it.

“He’s a young kid. Just like a lot of young players coming out of college, you have to learn how to balance the working life and play kind of scenarios and understanding where to do things and where not to. That’s the balance he has to learn.”

On Dez Bryant

Background: Smith was talking about the Cowboys’ decision to cut wide receiver Dez Bryant.

What Smith said: “I don’t know. I don’t know what the right answer really is to be honest with you. I do know that he had a significant cap number just like I had a significant cap number too. So Dez, I understand what you went through, how you and Jerry [Jones] probably sat down eye to eye and you probably said, ‘Jerry, just make me a nice little offer and I’ll stay’. Jerry said, ‘you know what, Dez, I don’t want to insult you’.”

Smith also said he thinks Bryant realized “how much the Cowboys really meant to him” when he spoke at SportsDay’s NFL draft party.

His own team?

Background: Smith was speaking with Mavs forward Harrison Barnes on The Players’ Tribune about the lack of diversity in the NFL, and his ambitions for the future.

What Smith said: “I think that lack of diversity itself has created this financial divide between players and owners. But there are really some owners who have great admiration for, and a great affiliation and connection with, their players. And you want to see more of that and hope it will translate into the way the team is run,” Smith said to Barnes. “I think the biggest challenge for achieving more diversity is that not enough African-Americans have the capital to own a team. I think that some African-Americans obviously have knowledge about playing the game of football. Most NFL owners today have never really played the sport. They’ve done great in business; they know how to run a company. So maybe more athletes have to go out and show the world that we know how to run a company, too. I think that’s where we’re at. Someday I hope to go in as a true owner. I want to be like Mark Cuban. I want to buy my own team, run my own thing down the road.”

Jason Garrett’s future

Background: Smith was on ESPN’s First Take, discussing if this could be head coach Jason Garrett’s last year with the Cowboys.

What Smith said: “I think Jason has what it takes. I do. But I think this is his last year with the Dallas Cowboys if he doesn’t get it right, because he’s had everything else to support his case.

“I think people want more. I think Jerry actually wants more. And in order to get more, you may have to do things you don’t necessarily want to do. I mean they had to get rid of me to move on with everyone else.”

The car he wanted

Background: Smith was talking about the Mercedes he wanted to be when he entered the league, and the financial advice he later got from Jerry Jones.

What Smith said: “I wanted to treat myself to a convertible Mercedes Benz, the SL. It was burgundy. Funny story, though. Before I actually bought the car, the car dealers treated me like I couldn’t afford the car. I walked onto the lot and I was looking at brand new cars and the sales guy took one look at me — a young African American guy — and he walked me to the used car section. He said, ‘Uh, let’s try to get you into something that you can afford.’ He didn’t have a clue that I was on the Cowboys. So I looked at what he wanted me to look at, and then I said, ‘No, I’ll go with the SL. But I’m not gonna buy it from you.’ And I went to another dealer and got it there.”

In a 2016 interview with CNBC, Smith said the best financial advice he ever received was from Cowboys owner Jerry Jones.

“He taught me about finances with a simple statement,” Smith told CNBC. “He always said, ‘Have a big front door and a small back door. Take in as much as you can, and spend as little as you can.'”

His favorite Super Bowl

Background: Smith was discussing which one of his three Super Bowl victories was his favorite.

What Smith said: “Well there was nothing better than the very first one, period. But when you’re named the MVP in the Super Bowl or the league’s MVP in the same year? Under the circumstances we began — 0-2? No team had ever went to the Super Bowl having started out 0-2? No team had ever done that before.

“The way we went through our season and having to win that final game against the Giants to secure home field advantage — and then the Super Bowl is the Super Bowl. So yes, that’s a special moment for me personally.

“But there was nothing sweeter than that very first one. That first one, man I’m telling you… If Jimmy had been there for the third one his hair have been messed up too!”

Jason Witten’s retirement

Background: Smith was discussing who needs to step up for the Cowboys in the absence of tight end Jason Witten.

What Smith said: “The whole team will look different because of all the changes that have occurred this past year. In the offseason, we lost a lot of key players as well — names that you would normally see. [Orlando] Scandrick and [Anthony] Hitchens and others. And now Dez [Bryant] is a big name along with [Jason] Witten.

“We just got over Tony Romo not being around. It’s truly becoming Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott and whomever wants to step up up to that role, Byron [Jones] as well. It’s becoming their team and they need to take the bull by the horns and start to groom these other young players and bring them along as quickly as possible.”

Anthem protests

Background: Smith was talking about NFL’s response to Donald Trump’s comments about players who protest the national anthem, and was asked what he would tell people who oppose the protests.

What Smith said: “First of all, I would say take the money aside, because everybody wants to throw money in the equation. Just because you’ve got money, you shouldn’t do this. Just because you’ve got money, you shouldn’t do that. Well, a lot of people got money, and they’ve still got a voice. And not only do they have a voice, but they have influence.

“Just because President Trump has money, he has the right to run for president. And he ran for president and won. OK, get past that piece. Now, where’s the unity? I’m looking for unity. I think in every organization, you come in, you pass the leadership part, where’s the unity? What are we going to do to win? How are we going to win, and how are we going to win collectively? Not just one segment of America, but how are we going to win as a country? Not just one segment of the country, the whole entire country wants to win.

“Everybody wants to participate in the American dream. The American dream is not isolated for just one group of people. It’s there for everybody to pursue. That’s the way I was always raised. If you work hard and you have the educational background and you can compete on equal ground, you have earned the right to pursue the American dream.

“Well, some of that dream has been taken away. Some of that dream has been destroyed. And to isolate one individual like Colin Kaepernick and have him out there on the island by himself so the whole world can pull him apart through the media and everything else and distort his message, that’s wrong. That’s what you call exploitation, in my opinion, for the benefit of your own agenda.”