SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) -- Emmitt Smith thinks federal investigators targeted Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick to get to others involved in an alleged dogfighting operation.
"He's the biggest fish in the whole doggone pond right now so they're putting the squeeze on him to get to everyone else," Smith said Saturday.
Vick and three associates are accused of competitive dogfighting, procuring and training pit bulls for fighting, and conducting the enterprise across state lines. Vick is scheduled to be arraigned Thursday in federal court in Richmond, Va.
Smith, who was enshrined in the College Football Hall of Fame on Saturday along with 19 others, was asked what he thought about the Vick situation. He said he believes federal investigators are trying to pressure Vick to turn on the others.
"Now, granted he might have been to a dogfight a time or two, maybe five times, maybe 20 times, may have bet some money, but he's not the one you're after. He's not the one you're after, he's just the one whose going to take the fall -- publicly."
But Smith also placed some blame on Vick, saying athletes need to realize they have to break ties with some people from their past "because where we're going, it's not for everybody to come with us. You have to learn to cut some of those guys loose. Because the things that they do, we cannot do no more."
Smith, the NFL's career leading rusher, said young athletes have to make decisions about who they associate with because it could harm their careers.
"From an athletic standpoint, from an endorsement standpoint, from an investment standpoint, from a business standpoint, those doors are opening. The question is now, do you want to do the same old junk you've been doing for 18 or 20-something years, or do you want to step into the real world of business and handle your business like you're supposed to handle it?"
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