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Rookie minicamp: Opportunity a "blessing" for Smith


JACKSONVILLE – The moment matters, and it couldn't be more special.

But while that's true for the most famous – and familiar – name at Jaguars 2022 Rookie Minicamp, this much is also true for Jimmy "Trey" Smith III: The opportunity is as important as the moment.

"It's been a blessing; I'm just so ecstatic to be here," Smith said following Day 2 rookie minicamp practice at TIAA Bank Field Saturday. "It's a beautiful time for me. I'm just enjoying it.

"I can't explain and don't really have the words to explain how I feel."

Smith, a running back from the University of Wyoming, is participating in minicamp as a tryout player. He was surrounded by reporters and cameras following Saturday's practice because he is the son of former Jaguars wide receiver and Pride of the Jaguars member Jimmy Smith.

"It is something that I've sort of adopted philosophically … just the respect factor of that," Jaguars Head Coach Doug Pederson said of extending such an opportunity to the son of a former franchise great. "Obviously Jimmy was a tremendous athlete and player and played here and his son's a talented player as well, so it was a good fit."

Smith spoke on Saturday within easy view of his father's name and number on the wall at the 'Bank. Yes, he said, this weekend and opportunity has a nostalgic feel. Very much so.

"I've been having déjà vu, because I haven't been here since I was like 12," he said.

Smith said his family's season tickets during his father's playing days included the first seat above the tunnel through which the team ran for practice this week.

“It’s a surreal feeing. When I came out of that tunnel as a player, there was just so much emotion. I’m just so blessed.” Trey Smith III

He added with a laugh, "I didn't cry or anything, but I was so excited and so ecstatic. I can't thank Coach Pederson, all the coaches and the city of Jacksonville enough for giving me a chance to do this."

Smith, 26, said he hasn't emphasized his famous connection this week, instead focusing on an NFL opportunity that following a college career that began at Louisville in 2015 and ended this past season at Wyoming. Smith played 33 games in college and rushed for 1,217 career yards and 13 touchdowns.

"You just come in and show you can play, and come in willing to learn and listen," he said. "You may end up in a situation that may make you happy. I'm just trying to get better every day. I'm just taking it all in, learning from all the coaches and playing football in a special way. I'm trying to make the best of it.

"I'm just here now. I don't know when I'm leaving yet. I want to stay here as long as I can."


The Jaguars' schedule in August is becoming clearer. Not only are the preseason weeks and opponents known, Pederson this week said the team will open training camp around July 24 – early than normal because the team is playing the Las Vegas Raiders in the Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio, on August 6. Pederson also said the team plans to hold joint practices with the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta the week leading to the teams' meeting in the preseason finale at Mercedes-Benz Stadium the week of August 27. Pederson said he currently is finalizing practice dates with Falcons Head Coach Arthur Smith. "I think they're really valuable to get some really good work in, especially with your starters – guys who you think are going to be starting Week 1," Pederson said. "It will be good for our guys to get some work in."


The lone quarterback participating in '22 rookie minicamp: E.J. Perry, who played at Brown and who was among the NFL's most sought-after collegiate free agents following the 2022 NFL Draft. Perry took all repetitions Friday and Saturday, showing impressive arm strength and seeming more accurate and confident as practice continued. "The quarterback position … I've always sort of adopted the philosophy of if you can find a guy – whether he's your third or your fourth guy – and add competition and add value," Pederson said Friday. "That's what we do. We loved his tape. He was a guy that [Jaguars quarterbacks coach] Mike McCoy and [assistant quarterbacks coach] Andrew Breiner had talked to prior to the draft. We just got to know him a little bit. We were fortunate to get him in here and get him going."

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