Brady still has skills younger rivals lack, says Hall of Famer Smith
NEW YORK, April 11 (Reuters) - Hall of Fame running back Emmitt Smith said 44-year-old Tom Brady still has tools in his arsenal that younger rivals don't, as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback eyes another season after making a u-turn on his retirement plans.
The seven-time Super Bowl winner announced last month he was coming out of retirement just six weeks after hanging up his cleats, telling fans he realized his heart was still on the field. read more
While Smith said he left the league in 2005 "completely satisfied" with a record 18,355 rushing yards across 15 seasons, he understood why Brady was lured back.
"It's kind of hard to walk away when you are that elite. He is taking care of his body, his mind. He's still sharp, still throws the ball well, still has arm strength," Smith told Reuters.
Brady spent two decades with the New England Patriots, winning six Super Bowls, before moving to Tampa Bay and leading the Bucs to a championship in his first season with the team in front of a home crowd.
"(He has) a lot of things that a lot of young quarterbacks don't have these days," said Smith.
"So yeah, it's kind of hard to walk away from the game when you've been involved with this business a long time."
A master of reinvention since he retired from the NFL, Smith most recently bought into NASCAR team Jesse Iwuji Motorsports and said would "love" to consider buying into an NFL franchise someday.
"Stacking up chips and putting them in the right place is important in order to make that happen," said Smith, who has joined forces with IHOP to promote their loyalty program.
"A lot of folks have aspirations and dreams of owning teams, owning organizations, growing a big organization, becoming successful and doing it the way that they want to do it.
"And for me, I want to take all the excuses off the table when that opportunity presents itself."
Smith said he has had "multiple conversations" with Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, for whom he helped secure three Super Bowl titles, about "various things" but declined to elaborate.
"He is keenly aware of my passion for the business," he added.
He is also willing to hand out advice to athletes who hope to have a post-playing career as robust as his own.
"They need to leverage the game as much as they possibly can while they're in the game in order to make things happen," Smith said.
"But the world has to be embracing and stop just looking at athletes as an object or as a shiny object."
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