Jonathan Stewart didn’t get there. Someone stopped him, spun him around, turned him back. He spent the next few minutes in a scrum, unable to break free. But the goal remained the same.
The rookie had just run for 115 yards and two touchdowns, helping fuel the Carolina Panthers’ big win over Tampa Bay on Monday Night Football. Everyone wanted a piece of the budding star: reporters with microphones and notepads, fans with pens and cameras.
Stewart obliged them all. But he kept glancing over his shoulder, toward that distant end zone, toward the bright lights focused on one of the NFL’s all-time greats.
“I want to meet Emmitt!” he said, and someone told him to be patient, that he would get the chance, that Smith wanted to meet him, too.