Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Jimmy Smith was among 15 of the top NFL players and part of America's favorite game show when he appeared on the seventh annual Wheel of Fortune "NFL Players Week." The show was taped November 5, 2002 at Sony Pictures Studios in Los Angeles, Calif., and aired on January 8, 2003.
Each player was partnered with a fan from his team's city. Three different player/contestant teams were featured each night from Monday, January 6 through Friday, January 10. The contestant from the team with the highest cash/prize total will be the envy of football fans everywhere as they will win the Grand Prize: a spectacular five-day/four-night trip to San Diego to attend the NFL Players Party, NFL Player Mania and Super Bowl XXXVII on January 26.
Smith was partnered with long-time Jaguars fan Rhonda Hamilton, who lives in Marietta on Jacksonville's west side. With the help of Jimmy's aggressive spins, Hamilton walked away with a total of $12,000 in cash and prizes. The Wheel of Fortune matched the $12,000 total and donated the much-needed funds to the American Lung Association of North Florida on behalf of Jimmy Smith. Smith has suffered from asthma since childhood and is active in Jacksonville to promote awareness of the disease.
"NFL Players are not only skilled athletes, but community leaders as well," said Pat Allen, executive vice president and chief operating officer of PLAYERS INC., the licensing and marketing subsidiary of the NFL Players Association. "Wheel of Fortune 'NFL Players Week' affords the players the unique opportunity to connect with their fans and give back to their charities and foundations. Over the last six years this partnership has raised over a million dollars for player charities. This year alone, our players raised over $300,000."
Hamilton chose Jimmy Smith as her partner because she has two small children who suffer from asthma. When asked what she plans to do with her winnings, she stated, "We will give a portion to our church and use the rest to complete the construction of our new home."