Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

JAGUARS NOTEBOOK; Smith Says Ex-Receivers Nipped Retirement Talk

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

JAGUARS NOTEBOOK; Smith Says Ex-Receivers Nipped Retirement Talk

Article excerpt

Byline: BART HUBBUCH

Jaguars wide receiver Jimmy Smith revealed Monday that he thought seriously about retiring after last season until several former NFL receiving greats talked him out of it.

Smith said he was so dispirited by the Jaguars' 28-3 playoff loss at New England that he planned to quit after 13 pro seasons and even told coach Jack Del Rio that he was considering such a move.

"I was tired and felt like I was done with football because of that loss," Smith said after taking part in the first day of the Jaguars' offseason conditioning program.

Smith turned 37 in February and will be the NFL's oldest active receiver this year if 38-year-old Ricky Proehl follows through on his talk of retirement. Smith said he was close to hanging it up until a host of former greats that included Tim Brown and Sterling Sharpe convinced him otherwise.

"Instead of retiring, they were telling me I needed to totally disengage myself from football in the offseason," said Smith, the Jaguars' all-time leading receiver and the only holdover from their 1995 expansion team. "They gave me some great advice, and I'm glad I took it."

Smith took it easy during his annual week-long trek to Arizona to work with a company that specializes in conditioning pro athletes.

"I only worked out two days while I was there instead of my usual seven," he said.

Smith is entering the final year of his contract with the Jaguars. Del Rio still lists Smith as the team's No. 1 receiver on the depth chart, but Smith said he realizes this could be his last year with Jacksonville.

Could it also be his last year in the NFL?

"I don't want to play anywhere else, but if the fire is still burning in me [after this year], then I'm going to play somewhere," said Smith, who caught 70 passes for 1,023 yards and six touchdowns last year. "Besides, the money's too good. …

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