Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Jags Open Talks with Johnson

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Jags Open Talks with Johnson

Article excerpt

Byline: John Oehser, Times-Union sports writer

The Jaguars are exploring options in the event wide receiver Jimmy Smith can't return by the start of this season.

The agent for free-agent wide receiver Charles Johnson said yesterday he has had a preliminary discussion with Jaguars Senior Vice President Michael Huyghue regarding Johnson joining the Jaguars. Joel Sega, Johnson's agent, said the talks were not urgent, and that any progress in negotiations depends upon Smith's health, which is uncertain.

"They've expressed interest," Segal said yesterday. "I'd say it's very much a 'wait-and-see' situation right now."

Segal said Huyghue did not mention Smith's situation during discussions.

"I don't know that Smith does or doesn't have an effect on their thinking regarding Charles," he said.

Segal added that Smith's ability to play this season likely would influence Johnson's interest in the Jaguars. If Smith was healthy, Johnson likely would be a No. 3 receiver behind Smith and Keenan McCardell.

"I would think from our point, it certainly depends on Smith," Segal said.

Huyghue, in keeping with team policy, declined comment on any discussions about Johnson, and said Smith's status did not change over the weekend. He remains hospitalized for tests regarding inflammation around his intestines following two surgeries in late April, one of which removed a portion of his small intestine.

"There's no change and we still believe what we've been saying, that he'll be playing next season," said Huyghue, who declined further comment on Smith for privacy reasons.

Smith, who originally spent 16 days in the hospital for the two surgeries, was re-admitted for several days around April 21 and has been in for the current round of tests since April 28. He went to the hospital that night because of stomach pains.

Although team officials are concerned about Smith, and there is concern his situation could cause him to retire, a source familiar with the team's thinking said yesterday the lack of effort finding a replacement is indication of the Jaguars' confidence he will return. …

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