I still don't understand. An inductive load doesn't create a reverse EMF over the switching transistor, it creates the reverse EMF over the inductor itself.
At the transistor, this looks like a high forward EMF. Assuming a positive supply and a low-side switch, the inductor creates a very high positive voltage (higher than Vcc) at the drain/collector when the transistor is switched off. With a high-side switch, the inductor creates a high negative voltage (lower than GND) at the emitter/source. In both cases this reverse biases the internal diode.
That is why, when a switching transistor needs protection, the protection diode is never connected across the transistor, it is connected across the load. A diode across the transistor does nothing to protect it. This is very well known.