Emmitt Smith wasn't a fan of the costly trade that brought Roy Williams from the Detroit Lions to the Dallas Cowboys. But after talking with Williams and watching him play last season, Smith said he started to like what he was seeing from the often-criticized receiver.
"I think you could see there was a discrepancy between which route to run between him and [quarterback Tony Romo] and sometimes you would see passes come his way, and obviously you would see some drops," Smith said Tuesday on "The Waddle & Silvy Show" on ESPN 1000. "But last year you didn't see as many drops, you saw him making plays, and I think that was important for the team because you expect the guy that got paid what [owner] Jerry [Jones] brought him in for, you expect him to step up and be the man and play like he's the man. He started to do some of that last year.
"I was very hard on him. I couldn't understand the trade. I thought the trade was too much for him, and that was just my personal opinion. That's no knock on the man's personal life, no knock on his character, no knock on his ability because I think he has the ability. Is he the fastest guy? Probably not. Can he make plays? Yes, he can. Will he make some mistakes? Yes, he will. That's the life of every human being on this planet."
In 2008, the Cowboys gave up a first-round pick in 2009 plus a third- and sixth-rounder that year as well as a seventh-rounder in 2010. Dallas signed him to a five-year extension for $45 million, including more than $20 million guaranteed.
Of the seven seasons in which he has played at least 10 games, Williams' three worst were in Dallas. He played 15 games in each of the past two seasons in Dallas but averaged 37 catches for 563 yards and six touchdowns.
The Bears, who signed Williams as a free agent this summer, hope a reunion with offensive coordinator Mike Martz will go as well as his one season spent in Martz's system. With Martz running the Lions' offense in 2006, Williams had a career season with 82 catches for 1,310 yards and seven touchdowns.