Jacksonville Jaguars RB Fred Taylor
"I tried to call him last night and talk him out of it. Byron (Leftwich) told me about it so tried to call him. I finally talked to him and he said he didn't want to return my calls because he knew I would try to convince him to stay. It has been nothing but a pleasure to play with Jimmy. I respect his decision. He was our veteran receiver so now the younger guys will have to fill that void.
"We have been through a lot together on and off the field. I value my friendship with Jimmy and I back him 100 percent on his decision. I told him to make sure he invites me to his retirement party because it's rare to go out on top. He was able to go out on his own terms. Great players usually don't go out on top. Jimmy has had a wonderful career. He's a warrior. Father time catches up with us all."
Jacksonville Jaguars QB Byron Leftwich
"When he's done I hope he gets into the Hall of Fame. He is that caliber of a guy. I am happy that I have been able to play with him. He has allowed me to be a part of his team. When you think of the Jaguars, the first thing that comes to my mind is Jimmy. He has been to Pro Bowls and he bleeds teal. He is one of the best in the game at what he does."
Jacksonville Jaguars FS Deon Grant
"The name 'Smooth' fits Jimmy perfectly. He might be old in age in terms of football, but he is still one of the fastest and smoothest guys running routes. I don't think you can cover the guy one-on-one. You can't do it even at his age.
"I'm happy for him and his family, but it hurts me to my heart to hear it. It's sad to know I won't get the chance to play with him anymore. Jimmy still has years left in him not only as a player, but as a leader of this team. He put up big numbers in the NFL and it's incredible to look at what he has done over his career. He's a great guy, not a good one, a great one. It's going to be sad not having him around."
Jacksonville Jaguars LB Mike Peterson
"I put Jimmy up with the best receivers in the league like Marvin Harrison, Randy Moss and on down the list. I feel privileged to have played with him when it's all said and done. My first reaction when I heard the news was selfishness because I don't want him to leave us, but I understand because I see him off the field. I stay in the same neighborhood as Jimmy and I know how family-oriented he is off the field. I see him out in his yard playing with his children. He's a family guy.
"I still think he has two or three more years left. I have nothing but love and respect for him. Jimmy has motivated me so much because I see the type of support he has received in the community, and from Wayne Weaver and the Jaguars organization. Everyone in the city still has so much respect for him. He has been here from the beginning and there have been a lot of players come and go, but Jimmy has stayed and made his mark."
Washington Redskins and former Jaguars QB Mark Brunell
"Jimmy is the best receiver I've been around. He is the total team player and his teammates always knew he would be there for them. I always admired his work ethic, dedication to his family and the community, and his approach to the game. He's a great football player and an even better person. It was an honor for me to be on the same field with him.
"My most vivid memory of Jimmy and I on the field was in the Divisional Playoff game against Denver in 96. I hit him with a touchdown pass to go on to win. That was the greatest play I've been a part of and he was the reason it happened. It was the culmination of a lot of hard work for a great franchise. We really grew up together as NFL players in Jacksonville and started when the team started. He really was instrumental in establishing that franchise."
New York Giants and former Jaguars Head Coach Tom Coughlin
"We were, in effect, giving him his third and probably last chance in the National Football League. He was a humble athlete who was very respectful of the game, of his coaching staff and the opportunity. I think of two guys that were very instrumental in him getting a chance and taking advantage of it were Ron Hill, who was the director of pro personnel at the time, and Pete Carmichael, who worked with me as the wide receivers coach. Pete kept saying to me, 'There is something about this kid, there is something about this kid.'
"Jimmy didn't do very well when he first got there. But he rose from a young man who, within a three-year period, was on his third team and had nothing but disappointment and failure to look back upon as his experiences in the National Football League, and became an outstanding receiver in the league. If it wasn't for the strength of his mother and father and his wife, Sandra, I really don't know if he would have fought his way through the difficulties of making an expansion team. But he did. And to his credit he just got better and better and better. And by the second-half of the 1996 season he was as good a receiver as there was in the National Football League. He made play after play to put us, literally, in the AFC Championship Game. And from the '96 season through the end 2002 he was a premiere wide receiver in this league and could be counted upon to catch over 80 balls every year.
"There were a couple of rare ingredients that this kid had. He had some medical issues; he had asthma. And yet he played with great endurance, which the great ones have. In the fourth quarter he had the power, he had the speed, he had the endurance and he could make things happen at that point in the game. He developed a unique relationship with Mark Brunell. And if you were going to single cover Jimmy Smith, the ball was going to him. He was a difference maker."
Baltimore Ravens CB Chris McAlister
"We nicknamed him "J-Smooth" because he made everything look so easy. Jimmy is clearly one of the best receivers to touch the field. He was one of the most consistent players in the NFL, with his great combination of speed and power and elite route running ability. I loved competing against him because he always brought out the best in me. I will miss him as a competitor, and the league will miss him as a man. I wish him nothing but the best."
Cincinnati Bengals WR Chad Johnson
"Retirement? No way. Not yet. He's smooth, still one of the best in the game. That does come as a surprise to me. But if Jimmy thinks it's time, I guess it's time, and whatever he wants to do now, he's earned it.
"When I came into the league, he was one of the guys my coaches told me to watch. Especially for route-running. And I remember talking to him after we played the Jaguars. I think I was in my second year. He told me I could be real good if I kept working, and that meant a lot to me. I definitely consider his example as a big part of my development."
Carolina Panthers and former Jaguars Offensive Line Coach Mike Maser
"Jimmy Smith was one of the better clutch receivers I've been around in my career. He always seemed to come up with the big play when it was needed. He was a professional and prepared himself well. Jimmy was a great team player and was always ready to play. I'm sorry to see him go."
Baltimore Ravens CB Deion Sanders
"Jimmy might not have the national recognition of Jerry Rice at the WR position, but every defensive back that has played in the 1990's to current, and every defensive coach in the league knows exactly who he is. He will go down in history as one of the best."
Indianapolis Colts President Bill Polian
"Jimmy Smith performed on and off the field in an exemplary manner. His production and durability made him not only one of the true faces of the franchise, but one of the top players in the league for many seasons. Jimmy always was ready on Sundays, and you knew the type of competitor you were going to face. We enjoyed competing against Jimmy, and we know he has a rightful place as one of the most significant players in franchise history."
Tennessee Titans Head Coach Jeff Fisher
"For years he has been one of the top receivers in the NFL, while others around the league received more attention. He is one of the more difficult receivers to defend against and he shows up week after week after week."
Indianapolis Colts Head Coach Tony Dungy
"A tremendous receiver, a competitor. He has the great speed and acceleration out of the cuts. He catches the deep ball well. He's physically a tough guy. He just has what you look for in a receiver. And now he's at the point where he still has the physical skills, but he has a great deal of experience and he knows what he's doing out there. He's just one of the best receivers that's played in this era."
San Diego Charger and former Jaguars WR Keenan McCardell
"When he came and worked out for the Jaguars, his mom had him bring a book of press clippings to give the position coach. He had all the highlights and articles of everything he'd done. Now to look at it and think about what he's done, that's a great accomplishment.
"He's probably one of the most underrated receivers in the league. The only reason for that is because he plays in a small market. It's not because of his ability. People around the country don't know a lot about him because he's in Jacksonville. If he were in New York or somewhere like that, a big media market, he'd be huge."
"He's the type of guy that goes to work each and every day and understands that it's about beating the guy in front of you by any means necessary. He's a great competitor. It was a pleasure for me to play with him. We both learned from each other. We got a chance to learn the game together and understand what it is to be a constant pro. We learned what it meant to be the leaders of our team and leaders of our offense. We understood that we were the playmakers and we had to make plays. He was the type of guy that wanted everyone to know that Jimmy Smith had arrived. He's done a great job of that."
Denver Broncos CB Champ Bailey
"Jimmy Smith is the toughest wide receiver I've faced. He just works so hard and plays the game with so much intensity that he's difficult to stop. Every year, and I'm not sure why, he just doesn't get the attention he deserves. But he's one of the best receivers in the NFL."
Baltimore Ravens CB Samari Rolle
"Jimmy has no weaknesses. He can play anyway he needs to. He can play the physical game. He can play the finesse game. Or he can run by you. That's why I think he's the best receiver in the league."
St. Louis Rams WR Isaac Bruce
"Jimmy Smith is one of the most unheralded wide receivers ever to play in the National Football League. He is one of the best route runners that I have ever seen. He is very explosive. Truly, truly a Hall of Famer."
Jacksonville Jaguars OT Tony Boselli
"He was arguably the best receiver in football for awhile but no one knew it. He never took himself seriously. He always played the game hard."
Indianapolis Colts WR Marvin Harrison
"Jimmy Smith is the ultimate receiver with the perfect personality to complement it. You look at Jimmy Smith and no other receiver does what he does. He has it all, size, strength, speed and hands. I have looked up to him since day one. He has encouraged me as receiver. I cherish my friendship with him and the times we have spent together at the Pro Bowl and other places. Once you get to know Jimmy Smith and talk with him, you realize he's a family man. It hurts me to see him leave even though I compete against him. He's the ultimate, point blank."
San Diego Chargers and former Jaguars WR Keenan McCardell
"He's my guy, first and foremost. He's probably the best receiver I ever played with. He was a great teammate and a great friend. I hate to see him leaving the game when he's still in his prime. I still think he can really help the Jaguars, but I respect his decision to walk away when he's on top. Here's a guy that just went over 1,000 yards last year and ranked in the top six in the National Football League in receiving. He just felt like it was enough so I respect that."
Tampa Bay Buccaneers LB Derrick Brooks
"First of all, I want to congratulate Jimmy on his tremendous career here in Florida, particularly in Jacksonville. I think he solidifies what an All-Pro is in this league. He was one of the toughest opponents I have ever faced, and quite frankly, I personally hate to see him retire. What he has done for the game of football, particularly Jacksonville, no feelings can be put into words.
"I think the level he's played at has been consistent throughout his career. He has always played at a high level. He can be a tremendous example to young players in this league on how to come in and if you don't have success early, continue to work hard and build your career throughout the league as it goes. Again, he's a guy, in my opinion, that solidifies what an All-Pro is. He is always competing on the field no matter what the score, he's always competing."
Denver Broncos WR Rod Smith
"I just wanted to say congratulations to Jimmy Smith on a tremendous career. I'm definitely one of his biggest fans. I know he's made plenty of them in Jacksonville for not only what he's done on the football field, but in the community, too. It's just great to see somebody finish the way he finished. From me and him sitting in a hotel room in Seattle, trying to find a job, Jacksonville's first year of existence. He said, 'I think I'm going to Jacksonville.' I was kind of envious of him that he had an option. I didn't know if I had too many options. He went down there and made the best of it. He's definitely one guy that I tell my young guys to watch and say, 'Do you want to learn how to run some routes? Watch this guy's footwork.' Even when he's playing against us, I just didn't want him to do too much damage. His numbers speak for themselves. He's one of those guys – quiet, confident – who is a big star in this league without the fanfare. I think he's definitely a guy that I've modeled myself after. Go out there, play hard each week and not have to draw attention to myself to be considered one of the best. He's definitely one of the best. I've learned a lot from him. I've definitely tried to teach what he does to my guys so they can, if nothing else, have a good career with longevity. The numbers, because that's what it comes down to – production. The guy put it on the field. I just wish I could be there. Honestly, I would have flown down there if I knew. I wish someone had called me to say that he was going to have a press conference, I would have gone. That's how much he's meant to my career. I try to keep up with him. What's he doing? How many yards? How many catches? If I can keep up with him, I could probably stay in the league. He was one of my motivating factors, trying to keep a job. He's just meant so much to me. It was just one half day that we shared in a room. I think we've earned a lot of respect from each other just from that moment – two guys who were hungry, trying to go out there and work. We got opportunities in two different areas. I just wish the best for him and his family. It was a tremendous run. I'm going to keep running for him, for now, until they run me out of the business.