Cardinals’ RB David Johnson meets idol Emmitt Smith

Mar 1, 2017, 2:10 PM

Arizona Cardinals running back David Johnson finally got a chance to meet his long-time idol: Hall of Fame running back Emmitt Smith.

In December, the 25-year-old Johnson wrote a piece for The Players Tribune, “A Tribute to My Idol,” in which he explains that he began emulating Smith on football fields as a young boy. That led to Smith reaching out to Johnson in a video on Twitter.

The Players Tribune tweeted a video on Wednesday that shows Johnson and Smith meeting for the first time.

“I’m very excited to meet Emmitt Smith,” Johnson said in the video before the two met face-to-face. “He was my idol growing up. He was that number 22 that really has made me want to play running back.”

When the two sat down for a conversation, Smith started by asking why Johnson singled-out Smith in the Players Tribune piece.

“What really made me gravitate towards you is your ability to, you know, do it all,” Johnson said. “Break tackles, make moves, truck guys if you needed to, catch out of the backfield. I was like man, that guy’s doing it all, he’s not just a guy who’s going to be a powerful runner.”

Smith revealed that Walter Payton was his favorite running back before complimenting Johnson on his style of play.

“At the end of the day, quarterbacks may be the brains, running backs can be the heart and soul of that offense. And I think that’s what you bring to the Cardinals. You’re bringing so much. Being able to see the field and understand it, so intellectually, you have that knowledge to read and see the entire field and make it work to your advantage.

“That to me are hallmarks of great, great running backs.”

Smith also asked Johnson about his newborn child, and the two discussed all that entails.

Nonetheless, the meeting was warm and friendly, and the young Cardinals phenom finally got the chance to meet his idol.

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