He decided to forgo his senior year and declared himself eligible for the 1992 NFL Draft. At 6'4" and 290 lb (130 kg)., he was the first overall pick, selected by the Indianapolis Colts. His most memorable play was the game-sealing 90-yard interception return for a touchdown as time expired in a 31-20 upset win at the Miami Dolphins in his rookie year.
Emtman's NFL career was marred by injuries. Playing a majority of his games on Astroturf, he finished each of his three seasons with the Colts on the injured reserve list. Nine games into his rookie year, he blew out his left knee. The following season, he tore the patellar tendon in his right knee, an injury that no previous NFL player had ever returned from. In October 1994, he beat the odds and made his comeback at home against the team he had grown up following, the Seattle Seahawks. On his first play, he tackled Chris Warren for a 5-yard loss. However, in the second quarter, he ruptured a disc in his neck in a collision with a teammate. Emtman continued to play, even though after the game, he could not close his fists due to nerve damage from the injury. He managed to play three more weeks until continuing pain forced him to undergo season-ending surgery. He later played for the Miami Dolphins and Washington Redskins. His playing career ended following the 1997 season at the age of 27.