Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Jimmy Smith Gets Probation, Will Pay by Speaking to Youth; He Says His Solution Was Drugs, and That It's 'Not the Way to Live'

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Jimmy Smith Gets Probation, Will Pay by Speaking to Youth; He Says His Solution Was Drugs, and That It's 'Not the Way to Live'

Article excerpt

Byline: PAUL PINKHAM

Former Jaguar Jimmy Smith said Wednesday he feels fortunate he got arrested for drunken driving, drug possession and other related crimes.

The retired five-time Pro Bowl receiver said he welcomes the opportunity a Duval County judge gave him to dissuade youths from dealing with problems the way he did.

"My life became unmanageable," Smith, 40, told the Times-Union after pleading no contest to misdemeanor charges of drunken driving and possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia. "Had that police officer not stopped me, I could have been dead or I could have run over somebody like my colleague, Donte Stallworth."

Stallworth, a receiver for the Cleveland Browns, was released this month after 24 days in jail for killing a pedestrian after a night of drinking at a Miami Beach nightclub.

On Wednesday, as court personnel snapped pictures with their cell phones, County Judge Brent Shore sentenced Smith to a year of probation and 50 hours of community service. He ordered Smith to spend those hours talking with public school children and youth groups about alcohol abuse.

The sentence was for Smith's 2008 arrest, when Jacksonville police stopped him at a checkpoint, found marijuana and paraphernalia in his vehicle and determined he was too impaired to drive safely. He refused a breath test to measure his blood-alcohol level.

"If you take this sentence to heart, you can do some good. You're still a popular figure, even though you haven't played for several years," Shore told Smith, the Jaguars' star receiver from 1996 to 2006. "I don't want you to be a statistic. I want you to take something out of this and make it into a positive. ... Saving one child is worth it."

Smith said he's anxious to do just that. He called his addiction a disease he plans to beat.

"This is not the way to live," he said. "Everyone has issues in their life. ... I used drugs as the solution."

Another case pending

Smith entered a Texas drug rehabilitation center after a traffic stop in April that resulted in charges of crack cocaine, marijuana and paraphernalia possession and driving on a suspended license. …

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