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Not often are there athletes that can take over on the football field and sustain that quality of play for over ten years. If it does happen more times than less it is by a player with great notoriety and expectancy to achieve well. For Jimmy Smith, there would not be a person that would have believed his story; which came to an uneventful off-season retirement conclusion.

Most great athletes have their last hooray known for by fans at seasons end or by poor play that runs them out. Jimmy Smith capped off his career in odd fashion by deciding to walk away from the game. This comes from an athlete that has been nothing but an exceptionally different athlete.

Over the last ten years we have seen plenty of receiver greats. Tim Brown, Jerry Rice, and Cris Carter are just a few names that jump out as banner hall of fame names. Yet they all had horrible transitions to leaving the game of football. Tim Brown was a cast off to Tampa Bay, Jerry Rice was practically dealt his retirement by the Broncos in training camp last season, and Cris Carter was a Dolphin for no reason.

So why and how has the media treated Jimmy Smith’s retirement as basic as possible? This guy posted 1,000 yard seasons for practically every year that he was a Jaguar. He was a cornerstone of the inaugural Jacksonville Jaguars team that featured Keenan McCardell, Mark Brunell, and Natrone Means. If the Jaguars do not have an illustrious ceremony out the gate of their 2006 season than something definitely is not right. Smith was as unique a receiver as they get and deserves instant banner and jersey retirement recognition before anyone even has a chance to don number 82. Hang it up in Gillette Stadium and even keep his locker untouched as a representation of how much he has meant and done for the Jaguars organization.

Approaching the age of forty is never a good sign as an NFL athlete, especially as a wide receiver. While the Jaguars were more than willing to have Jimmy Smith back in 2006, it was definitely for a short term commitment. This would have been Jimmy Smith’s last year under contract with the Jaguars, and we all know the ugly situation that would have unraveled after the 2006 season. Smith would have been forced into retirement and likely that move would have been preceded by lesser and less action on the football field as the NFL weeks went by.

So the decision by Smith to retire was all a preparation move to avoid the “I’m better than the franchise” treatment (cough Favre) a year from now. Or better yet to avoid being so vent up with frustration from your team that you set out to prove them wrong by signing with another team. It is a move that never works and just makes the athlete look older and an inch away to retirement.

Things really fell into place for Jimmy Smith by the NFL giving a franchise to the city of Jacksonville in 1995. Let’s not forget that Smith was a member of the Dallas Cowboys from 1992 through 1995 and was looking like a future XFL candidate. He was cut by the Cowboys and would have likely strung along on some teams as a fifth receiver before fading out of the NFL completely. But by the impressive skills of his mother with a book of clippings on Jimmy Smith, he was giving a golden opportunity with the Jaguars.

Smith stepped in right away as a staple for the Jaguars, and was part of one of the best tandem receivers for several years. He was a fantasy football yardage king that racked up over 1,000 yards nine out of ten seasons from 1996 through last season. A true valued pick as every year was expected to be the season that his numbers would slip. They never did, and we tip our hats to probably the best receiver over the last ten years besides Marvin Harrison.


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