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Broken Promise
John Ed Bradley
September 25, 1995
Three devastating injuries in three NFL seasons have kept Miami's Steve Emtman from fulfilling his huge potential—so far
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September 25, 1995

Broken Promise

Three devastating injuries in three NFL seasons have kept Miami's Steve Emtman from fulfilling his huge potential—so far

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There isn't much to do in the hotel where he's been living. Look out the window, watch TV, call somebody on the phone. Sleep. Sometimes he sits around thinking: What do you want to do after football? It's a question that just pops into his head. Come on, Emtman. What do you want?

And then an answer comes.

Maybe, after the season, he could head out to Los Angeles, see what a place like Hollywood has to offer a guy like him. He could act. But how do you start? Who do you talk to? You think you just pick up the Yellow Pages and find producers listed somewhere?

Yeah, uh, this is, uh...this is Steve Emtman, defensive tackle for the Miami Dolphins. I was wondering. You think you could put me in your next picture?

Maybe if they saw him. He does make an impression. Emtman stands nearly 6'5" and weighs 284 pounds. He can squat 700 pounds and bench-press 475, and this power is contained in a form magnificent enough for action heroes of any stripe. His body fat runs a measly 7%, remarkable for a man his size. His waist is 38 inches around, not much more than each of his thighs. In a sea of sharks he would make a great fishing lure, what with his bright yellow hair and liquid blue eyes, his muscles everywhere. He even sports a grungy Charles Manson goatee, which might look good up there on the silver screen: FORMER ALL-AMERICA AND NO. 1 NFL DRAFT PICK STEVE EMTMAN STARRING IN....

It isn't exactly clear yet.

Today after practice Emtman goes back to the hotel, and there's a bill on his bed. It's at least an inch thick, charges running on and on, the total about $1,800. "Not bad," he says. "Phone and everything."

He has been staying here since he signed with the Dolphins in July, after the Indianapolis Colts dumped him. It's a two-room suite with a view of the swimming pool. "See the waterfall?" he says, pointing out the window. There's lots of tropical vegetation down there. And black rocks that look like lava. But no bathing beauties. Emtman has yet to spot a bathing beauty, and this is supposed to be South Florida, Coppertone City.

Maybe they should just make a movie about him. God knows he's been through enough. "No," he says, "you'd have everybody crying, even the men."

After all, what's sadder than a guy who looked like a world-beater coming out of the University of Washington in 1992, maybe the best defensive-line prospect ever, but who in his first three years in the pros suffered three devastating injuries and never amounted to much? Who bombed, if you listen to some people?

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