The Jacksonville Jaguars announced on Tuesday afternoon they would be inducting former wide receiver Jimmy Smith into their Pride of the Jaguars. It's long over due, but when Smith held a conference call with the media after the announcement, he revealed he nearly didn't answer the phone when the call from Jaguars owner Shad Khan himself came.
"He told me Saturday, a 217 area code. I started not to pick up the phone because I usually don't answer numbers I don't know," Smith told reporters on Tuesday." It was Shad Khan and I knew right then. My heart started beating fast and I couldn't catch my breath and [he said], ‘Jimmy this is Shad Khan with the Jacksonville Jaguars,' and he began to say thanks so much for my service for the Jaguars and what I've done during my time there and how engaging I am to the community and how engaging I am social media and that they were extremely proud of me. I just really appreciate him for making the decision to induct me in the Pride and I just want to thank the owner, Shad Khan. All credit goes to him."
Smith's journey post NFL career has been rough and well documented, so there's no real need to re-hash everything that happened over the years. Many wondered if Smith would ever be able to clean his image up enough to ever be an addition where he belonged, in the Pride of the Jaguars.
"The timing is perfect because had I not gone through some of those off-the-field issues, I wouldn't be the person that I am today. I definitely matured and learned from my mistakes and am able to help that other guy who may be struggling with the same issues that I've struggled with in my life," Smith said when asked if he thought he'd have gone into The Pride sooner. "This could be an inspiration to that someone else in helping them get over their problems because we all have problems. Everybody has issues and has problems. It's just how do you deal with those problems and how do you come out of it? I feel like the work is not over with by any means."
The past few seasons it's clear Smith has gotten things in his life straight and he's credited a lot of that to Jaguars fans keeping him lifted up and going with their constant interaction on social media. Smith has been ridiculously engaging with fans on social media and in events when he travels back to Jacksonville. A few seasons ago if you were at the Bold City Brigade tailgate, you saw him up close and personal when he made a surprise appearance and even circled up with the fans.
Smith will be inducted into the Pride of the Jaguars on December 11 when the Jaguars take on the Minnesota Vikings.