Jacksonville Jaguars fans were stunned by the news of Telvin Smith planning to not play for at least the 2019 NFL season, releasing a statement on his personal instagram account. Smith has been absent from voluntary workouts like Yannick Ngakoue and Jalen Ramsey, however both of those players have spoken with the team and it’s known why they’re absent. They’re both angling for a new contract. Smith on the other hand has already gotten his contract, so his absence was always a mystery, mostly due to the fact that he hadn’t spoken to anyone.
The team didn’t know why he was absent and he hadn’t really spoken about why he was absent. In fact, the only public thing Smith said was last week in an Instagram video that didn’t really say anything other than he wasn’t getting traded and would never leave Duval. There was something cryptic he said about “if he ever” plays again and then a few days later he broke the news he was stepping away for at least the 2019 season.
The fact of the matter is we do not know what is going on with Smith, however it is clear he is personally troubled by something and we should respect that. Whether it is an issue with a controlled substance, issues with alcohol, issues with CTE or a head injury, or just his overall mental state. Whatever the problem is, Smith felt the best course of action was to not play football in 2019 and get himself right.
Based on his messaging, it’s very clear something is not right so at this point I’m concerned about the human Telvin Smith, not the football player. The football player can be mitigated and replaced. They always can and they always will be, since they’re just a cog in the machine that is the NFL. I just hope Smith, the person, figures out what he needs to figure out and we should give him the respect he deserves to do so and just move on for now.
Sure, the Jaguars will get some cap relief from Smith sitting out the 2019 season and they can go after some of his signing bonus due through the rest of his contract, but less than 24 hours after his vague announcement that’s the furthest thought from my mind.
For whatever reason Smith has chosen to go radio silent with the team, the fans, his agent, with everyone. So let’s let him figure out what he needs to figure out. Football isn’t that important.