NFL News of December 28, 2002

Darrell Green 2002 Washington Redskins final game

The Dallas-Washington game means nothing to the playoffs, but is dripping with nostalgia.

It is the final game for Washington cornerback Darrell Green after an unprecedented 20 years at a position of speed.

“In my own way I pioneered for the little guys at the toughest position in football,” said the 5-foot-9, 184-pound Green. “Name the quarterback, name the receiver, I battled them. Big, little, fast, strong. I battled them all.”

Green will be 43 on Feb. 15. He doesn’t have an interception for the first time in his career and has been playing primarily on special teams since bruising his hip last month.

“I’m not what I was,” he said. “I wish I could have played more. That has kind of gotten to me a little bit as my plane has started to land. My athletic ego is saying that I’m not playing because I can’t play.”

It could be the final game in a Cowboys uniform for Emmitt Smith. “In reality, it could be. You never know,” Smith said. His contract calls for a $7 million base salary and a $9.8 million salary-cap number in 2003, when he will be 34. Maybe you do know.

It should be the final game for Redskins defensive end Bruce Smith, who is hanging on long past his prime to try to break Reggie White‘s career sack record of 198. Smith has 194 and will turn 40 next season.

Emmitt Smith still needs 38 yards to reach 1,000 and extend his NFL record to 12 consecutive seasons with at least 1,000 yards.

— Don Pierson, The Chicago Tribune “End of the line for former stars in NFL”

This game was the last game of Darrell Green’s career. During the game, the 42 year-old returned a punt for 35 yards.

Bruce Smith played one more year for the Redskins and ended his career with 200 sack, which stands as an NFL record.

Emmitt Smith rushed for 18 times for 13 yards, finishing the season with 975 yards. It was the first time since 1990 that he had rushed for less than 1000 yards in a season. He spent the next two seasons with the Arizona Cardinals before retiring.

Each was elected to the NFL Hall of Fame in their first year of eligibility: Green in 2008, Bruce in 2009 and Emmitt in 2010.

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