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NFL’s all-time rushing leader argues with refs, pumps up Gators for love of alma mater

Hello, Emmitt Smith.

The NFL’s all-time leading rusher and former Florida great made an appearance at last week’s game and even coach Jim McElwain got a little nervous with the Smith on the sideline.

“Shoot, I was a little giddy,” McElwain told the AJC’s SECCounty this week. “I had a chance to meet one of the best ever at his position. Never would have thought that would happen.”

It’s been a long time since Florida’s second all-time leading rusher last walked onto the field in Gainesville in uniform, but even still it’s nice to see him back out there showing support for his former team. The Gators legend even made a surprise appearance in the Florida locker room to pass some of his knowledge onto the young players.

“Having an NFL great and Gator great come back and share some knowledge and some of his experience with us, it was awesome because you don’t get that everywhere,” Florida safety Marcus Maye said. “To have Emmitt on the sideline, having that performance in front of him, he was excited to see it.”

Few schools have as rich as history as the Gators do to the point that greats like Emmitt Smith can come wander into the locker room at any given game.

“I was getting dressed and I just had happened to turn right and Emmitt Smith is sitting down right there,” Gators defensive end Alex McCalister said. “My heart dropped for a second. I was like, ‘Dawg, Emmitt Smith is really right here in our locker room just chillin.’ That’s big, that’s big for everybody, though. Former Gators coming back and helping us out, talking to us here and there. I love that.”

The No. 11 Florida Gators (5-0, 3-0 in SEC) head to Mizzou next week to take on a tough Tigers team currently sitting at 4-1.

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