(April 10)—He considered retirement. The years were piling up on him and he was suffering from postseason fatigue. Jimmy Smith sought counsel.
"Right after the loss to New England, I was, like, I'm done. I don't want to do this any more. I had to really talk to people to see if I want to do that," Smith said on Monday morning, after finishing a workout on the first day of the Jaguars' offseason conditioning program.
Smith talked to former NFL receiver Tim Brown early in the offseason. Smith asked Brown how he kept his enthusiasm through 17 seasons. Brown told Smith to get away from football completely during the offseason.
"I did that and now I'm excited. The schedule is out. It doesn't look like we'll have any blackouts. I hope this will be the year for my young receivers to step up," Smith said.
He has led the Jaguars in receiving yards every year since 1996. That's how much Smith has meant to the Jaguars offense. Even last year, as a 36-year-old receiver on a team that drafted wide receivers in the first round of the last two drafts, Smith was the Jaguars' top guy. How much longer can it stay that way? How much longer does it have to stay that way?
"I'm just blessed. I'm fortunate to be able to do it year in and year out. I'm 37 and I'm still running by these guys who are 22 years old. I feel good about everything. I've been blessed with this talent and there's no sense wasting it," Smith said.
Last year, Smith led the Jaguars with 70 receptions for 1,023 yards. Ernest Wilford was a distant second with 41 catches for 681 yards.
It was not, however, one of Smith's best seasons. He experienced a rash of dropped passes and left fans scratching their heads. Were the drops a sign that Smith was losing it?
"That's just concentration. The sign is when I can't get open any more," Smith said.
He's back for another season. It began this morning with conditioning. It'll proceed through mini-camp and spring practices and then, of course, another training camp.
"I'm up to it. I was anxious to come in here and work out," Smith said. "I'm here for the year. I'm here strong for the year. My goal is to get back to Honolulu (Pro Bowl) and get this team to the Super Bowl. I feel like it's on my shoulders and everybody should feel the same way."