It’s been four days now since Jaguars star linebacker Telvin Smith suddenly announced that he’s not going to play football this season. And, we’re still no closer to understanding “the why” in that decision.
At the outset, no one is for sure, or at least they aren’t saying so, if there is something seriously wrong, physically, mentally, emotionally or in some combination with Smith or not? And if there is, that obviously supersedes football.
However, the Jaguars organization is still just as surprised by this as everyone. Further, we checked with two sources close to the team that essentially said that they not only haven’t talked to Smith, but still haven’t gotten an explanation from his agent or anyone else, in the last 96 hours, as to why he currently no longer wants to play football for 2019.
The agent, Adisa Bakari, was in contact with the teem, including coach Doug Marrone two weeks ago telling them that Smith was staying away from voluntary workouts to deal with “personal matters.” Yet, Bakari did not give the Jaguars any advanced warning of Smith’s intention until the fifth year linebacker released his statement on Instagram last Thursday afternoon.
So, we’re left to wonder and wait for more information to come out. Reporters continue to dig and work sources to find out what’s really behind Smith, who is in the prime of his career, suddenly wanting to walk away for a season.
And the rumors and speculation are running wild:
Is it a drug or alcohol situation and his needs extended treatment?
That is obviously serious, but you would think that he and/or he representatives would have announced that. And certainly, the team and NFL have great treatment programs to help players, etc. with substance abuse issues. So, it’s strange that he would not be informing the team and asking them to help.
Is it a money thing?
That’s highly unlikely, especially when Smith made $11 million a year ago, his most single season salary by more than double in his career. Smith also had $5 million of his $9.7 million 2019 salary guarantee back in March, as a roster bonus. And, that’s money that the team will now try to get back from him for him staying away (if he stays away) this summer and this season.
Is it concern over head trauma, concussions, possible CTE later in life, etc?
While this is possible, we did some digging and there is no known concussion issue with Smith, at least over the last couple of seasons. So, if he does have those concerns, it would be “news” to everyone involved. And in fairness, there have been other players step away for the same fears like Ravens starting offensive lineman John Urschel who did so in 2017 at age 26 over head trauma fears for later in life.
Could Smith be intending to still report to camp/preseason later on?
Yes, you have to make room for the possibility that Smith’s announcement and absence so far in the non- critical months of the off season could be temporary. And, he could change his mind, report to the team at some point later this summer/in the preseason and still, play this year.
He obviously has huge financial motivation to that, as the Jaguars will look to void his roster bonus and recoup that money, if he stays away from mandatory training camp, preseason and then regular season games.
"I would not be dancing around, doing Instagram posts, telling people to wake up if I was about to give up $9 million." – @TonyBoselli on Telvin Smith
— 1010 XL / 92.5 FM (@1010XL) May 13, 2019
For now, just as the Jags themselves, Smith has us all guessing, what’s next?
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