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Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker Telvin Smith says he will not play football in 2019.
Smith, a five-year veteran, is coming off a season where he had a career-high 134 tackles. However, in an Instagram post, Smith said he wants to take some time “away from the game.” Smith did not say he plans to retire.
“It was said to me from a great coach that in order for the man to be his best, he must get his world in order. At this time I must take time away from this game and get my world in order,” Smith wrote. “I must give this time back to myself, my family and my health. I appreciate all the support I will and will not get. I just ask y’all to respect my decision to not play football this season.”
In a statement, the team said it has not yet spoken to Smith about the situation.
“We will not have a comment about Telvin Smith’s statement at this time. We need to have a conversation with Telvin to understand the situation and the circumstances,” the statement said.
“If there is a way we can support him we need to understand that.”
Smith, 28, was chosen in the fifth round of the 2014 NFL draft by the Jaguars and has played his whole career with the franchise. Over that five-year span, he has been a staple of their defense, accumulating a whopping 586 tackles, 7.5 sacks and nine interceptions. He has had at least 100 tackles in all five of his professional seasons.
Smith, who signed a four-year, $45 million extension in October 2017, was not present for the voluntary portion of the team’s offseason workout program, prompting some to wonder about his status with the team.
The absence of Smith and cornerback Jalen Ramsey drew criticism from Jaguars vice president of football operations Tom Coughlin, who said, “quite frankly, all of our players should be here.” Coughlin subsequently drew scorn from the NFLPA for his comments.
There were even murmurs that Smith could be a trade candidate, but Smith said on social media that he “never” wants to leave Jacksonville. In Thursday’s Instagram post, Smith again addressed the trade rumors.
“I know the rumors of trade talk came about, but I started my career in Jacksonville and the day I do decide to call it quits it will be right here in Duval,” Smith wrote.
The Jaguars chose Kentucky outside linebacker Josh Allen with their first-round draft choice.
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