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Jimmy Smith’s story sad, not completely surprising

JimmySmith Getty Images

When we unveil next month on NBC Sports Network’s Pro Football Talk the four members of each franchise’s Mt. Rushmore, former Jaguars receiver Jimmy Smith could land on the Jacksonville version.

Earlier this year, he landed in a far worse place, for a tentative stay of six years.

It’s a sad story for a player who had an inspiring career, but it’s hardly a shock.  He had been arrested on drug charges in 2009, three years after his retirement from the NFL.  And when he called it quits in 2006, Smith’s departure came amid rumors of a looming cocaine-related suspension — and whispers of behind-the-scenes threats of litigation for anyone who would dare to publish those rumors.

Regardless of whether the rumors at the time were true, the reality is that cocaine has done far more than possibly end Smith’s football career prematurely.  Four of his six years behind bars flow from a conviction for cocaine possession.

What’s surprising is the manner in which Smith’s legal troubles avoided the media’s radar screen.  A third of his current prison term comes from the charge of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, which means he already was a convicted felon — a fact that was never widely reported.

The prior conviction flowed from the 2009 arrest, which resulted from police finding crack cocaine, marijuana, and a business card with cocaine residue in Smith’s car.  Smith later pleaded guilty to cocaine possession, and he served six months on house arrest.

If Smith has an addiction, here’s hoping he gets the help he needs to overcome it, and that he can emerge on the other side of his sentence as someone who can help young NFL players (and other young people regardless of their athletic abilities) avoid the same fate.

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15 Responses to “Jimmy Smith’s story sad, not completely surprising”
  1. GenXJay says: May 15, 2013 9:30 AM

    Does Michael Irvin know about this?

  2. kathleenturnersoverdrive says: May 15, 2013 9:31 AM

    Just Imagine how much time he would do if he was Lindsay Lohan… oh wait.

  3. nananatman says: May 15, 2013 9:42 AM

    Addicts can only help themselves.

  4. Slackmo says: May 15, 2013 9:48 AM

    If only Tebow could have saved him in Jacksonville.

  5. ninerfan81 says: May 15, 2013 9:54 AM

    He’s still the best receiver to ever play for them, are at the very least the 1a to McCardell’s 1b…I just hope he can exorcise his demons…I dont know what its like to have a chemical dependency on a substance but I can’t imagine its easy with or without help.

  6. ridusofreid says: May 15, 2013 10:01 AM

    Eagles let him go for drugs before he hooked up with the Jags.

  7. breakingb says: May 15, 2013 10:07 AM

    He’ll be a free agent 2019.

  8. titanmo says: May 15, 2013 10:14 AM

    “Jimmy Smith’s Sad Story”…… It should read just another idiot who pissed away everything he ever worked for. The only sad part of this story is he wasn’t sent to prison the first time he was caught. Every young player in the league can take something out of this story…… Go get F**ked up on coke for a few years, your only gonna get a slap on the wrist the first time you get caught.

  9. shogunassasin30 says: May 15, 2013 10:14 AM

    What’s sad is that I have heard that he was/is an all-around good guy and pleasant to talk to etc. He just can’t shake his addiction. but hey, lets throw him in prison for 6 years! That’ll learn him!

  10. daysend564 says: May 15, 2013 11:23 AM

    Things are so much easier to get away with while you have mass money coming in and are in the national spotlight.

  11. thegreatgabbert says: May 15, 2013 12:17 PM

    As long as they don’t use his mugshot as a model for the Rushmore carving, I’m O.K. with it.

  12. kahnsbushymustache says: May 15, 2013 12:58 PM

    When Jimmy moved away from Jacksonville because he “wanted less attention” we all knew he really meant he still wanted to get high without getting noticed…

  13. garyhd01 says: May 15, 2013 3:00 PM

    he will be free in 2019 technically he would have to be considered a free agent in 2013 of course he may not see the field from behind bars my guess is however if allowed to he still could help the jags ps is Blackmon following in smiths footsteps? just wondering

  14. trevor123698 says: May 15, 2013 4:23 PM

    Addiction is caused by the same thing that causes sports injury which is a multiple mineral deficiency. No matter what you are addicted to you cannot hope to permanently win the battle without fixing the mineral deficiency that causes addictive behavior. I had my battle with sugar and I only won through optimal mineral supplementation. same with my battles against sports injury. call me crazy, I don’t care. Study what comes out in sweat and what happens when you don’t replace what you sweat out and you still won’t even know. Study this tape titled DEAD AHLETES DON’T LIE and you’ll be closer to knowing

  15. nativeraider says: May 16, 2013 1:57 AM

    I feel bad for him. He was part of a solid duo with him and McCardell for years.

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