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Telvin Smith bombshell: Jaguars LB says he's not playing football this season

Smith announced on Instagram that he's stepping away to focus on health, family

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Telvin Smith announced on Instagram that he was taking time away from the NFL and would not play this season to focus on his health and family, a bombshell of an announcement on the eve of the team's rookie minicamp. 

Smith’s Instagram post read: “It was said to me from a great coach, that in order for the man to be his best, he must get his world in order. At this time I must take time away from this game & get my world in order. I must give this time back to myself, my family, & my health. I appreciate all the support I will & will not get. I just ask y’all respect my decision to not play football this season. I know the rumors of trade talk came about, but I started my career in Jacksonville & the day I do decided [sic] to call it quits it will be right here in Duval. I love y’all & even in my time off it’s #10toesdwn ya feel me!!! Love!"

The Jaguars had to be stunned by the abrupt announcement, saying “We will not have a comment about Telvin Smith’s statement at this time. We need to have a conversation with Telvin to understand the situation and the circumstances. “If there is a way we can support him we need to understand that.”

Smith, a fifth-round draft pick out of Florida State and one of the best in Jaguars history, has played in 76 career games and made 586 tackles and nine interceptions. He is scheduled to make $9.75 million this year. The team will likely place Smith on the Reserve/Did not Report list should Smith wind up following through on his decision. 

The Jaguars linebacker had been a no-show in voluntary workouts and his absence had created numerous storylines, including that the Jaguars were looking to trade him. Coach Doug Marrone said during a pre-draft luncheon that he had reached out to Smith and had not heard back from him, adding another odd layer to the story.

But Smith, a Lowndes High (Valdosta, Ga.) product, resurfaced in an Instagram post late Monday night and said that he never planned on leaving the Jaguars, making Thursday’s abrupt post more surprising. 


About the Author:

Justin Barney joined News4Jax in February 2019, but he’s been covering sports on the First Coast for more than 20 years.