During his career, Emmitt Smith was a very reluctant signer, especially during the Cowboys' heyday of the mid-1990s. Trying to get Smith to sign in-person was a tall task. During his early years in the league, Smith was one of the first players to market his signature, doing so via a sports memorabilia and card store that he co-owned with his father. His father was a regular on the show circuit in the mid-to-late 1990s and most of the product he sold was signed by his son.
Since his retirement, Smith has become a semi-regular guest on the autograph show circuit and finding his signature on any type of football memorabilia is a relatively easy task. His signature features a large oversized "E," the dominating component of his autograph. A series of up and down lines finish his first name followed by a large "S" and some flashy looping. Smith typically finishes his signature with "22," his jersey number.
Emmitt James Smith III (May 15, 1969 - ) earned Most Valuable Player honors at every playing level as the 1986 high school player of the year, the 1989 Southeastern Conference’s MVP and the 1993 National Football League MVP. Emmitt scored 109 high school touchdowns then entered the University of Miami, where he named the national freshman of the year as he ran for 1,341 yards. He was among the top ten in Heisman Trophy voting in all three years with the Hurricanes before entering the draft. The Dallas Cowboys took Emmitt in the first round of the 1990 NFL Draft out of the University of Miami where he set 58 school records, earned All-American honors and was the 1989 SEC MVP. In his first season, 1990, with the rebuilding Dallas Cowboys, Smith ran for 937 yards and 11 touchdowns earning the 1990 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year and his first of eight NFL Pro Bowl appearances. In 1991, Smith led the NFL in rushing attempts (365) and rushing yards (1,563) beginning a record setting string of 11 seasons with 1,000 yards or more.
Emmitt played 15 years in the NFL with the Cowboys (1990-2002) and the Arizona Cardinals (2003-2004) leading the league three times in rushing touchdowns, rushing attempts, yards per game and yards from scrimmage as well as four times in rushing yards. From 1992-1993, Emmitt rushed for 3,199 yards and 27 touchdowns and was named the 1992 NFL Newspaper Enterprise Association MVP and then won the 1993 NFL AP, PFWA and NEA MVP Award as well as the 1993 NFL Bert Bell Award winner. Hall of Famers Troy Aikman and Michael Irvin teamed with Smith to win three Super Bowls in the 1990s (Super Bowls XXVII, XXVIII, XXX) and Emmitt was named Super Bowl XXIII’s Most Valuable Player. In 2002, Emmitt Smith became the NFL’s all-time leading rusher, passing Chicago Bears’ Walter Payton. After two seasons to wrap up his career in Arizona, Emmitt retired as the NFL all-time leading rusher with 18,355 yards on 4,409 attempts, 164 rushing touchdowns and averaged 81.2 yards per game. In total, Smith recorded 21,579 career yards from scrimmage and scored 1,052 points on 175 touchdowns and one two-point conversion. Emmitt Smith was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2006 and the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2010.