Emmitt Smith
Former professional football player Emmitt Smith promotes 'Game On: Find Your Purpose — Pursue Your Dream' at the Bookends Bookstore on September 6, 2011, in Ridgewood, New Jersey. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images)

Former NFL running back Emmitt Smith talked about the Dallas Cowboys, this year’s rookie quarterbacks, and his current gout education initiative during an interview with theGrio.

“I think the Cowboys are stuck in what I would call an identity crisis,” the Hall of Famer said of his former team. “When you abandon the run as quickly as the Cowboys have in the past couple years, there’s no way for you to establish any kind of balance,” said Smith. ” I think when you incorporate a balanced attack in the running game, I think Romo can become a better quarterback. But if we don’t run the football, we’re not helping him and we’re definitely not helping our offense.”

The Cowboys have won just one playoff game since Smith left the team in 2002.

Advice for NFL rookies

In regards to this year’s rookie quarterbacks, Smith said they just need to get the experience.

“I don’t really see him starting, but I do see Johnny having the opportunity to get some playing time,” Smith said about Cleveland Browns rookie Johnny Manziel.

Smith advises both Manziel and fellow rookie QB Teddy Bridgewater to “learn and get comfortable in the system, slow the game down mentally, and that’s only through experience. Once you gain that experience and knowing what you do, you have a way to maximize your own potential.”

Gout Initiative 

Now working off the field, Smith has partnered with Takeda Pharmaceuticals to help educate patients about managing and treating gout, which has effected him since retiring from the NFL.

Smith is one of the nearly 8 million Americans who suffer from gout, a painful form of arthritis that is caused by a buildup of uric acid in the blood.

The former Dallas Cowboy, who retired in 2005, talked to theGrio about his personal experience with gout.

“2010 is when I had my very first flare up and not knowing what it was and what I was dealing with, I experienced an incredible amount of pain — probably the most pain I’ve ever been in since I retired from the game,” Smith said.

“I’ve had the pleasure of meeting folks that have gone to their doctors and got on the program and are doing better,” said Smith. “So I’m a big supporter of just spreading knowledge, and if we help someone else, then I think we’ve done our job.”

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