Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker Telvin Smith to sit out 2019 season
Last Updated: 10/05/19 1:14pm
Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker Telvin Smith has announced he will sit out the 2019 season for personal reasons.
A full-time starter the past four seasons and a 2017 Pro Bowler, Smith made the announcement on Thursday via Instagram.
"At this time I must take time away from this game & get my world in order," Smith wrote. "I must give this time back to myself, my family, & my health. I appreciate all the support I will & will not get. I just ask you all respect my decision to not play football this season."
Smith also affirmed he has no plans to play for any team other than the Jaguars, despite rumours of a possible trade.
The 28-year-old was set to earn a base salary of $9.75m this season. He signed a four-year, $45m extension in October 2017.
A fifth-round draft pick by Jacksonville in 2014, Smith posted a career-high 134 tackles in 2018.
Smith and Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey opted to sit out the Jaguars' voluntary workouts last month, prompting public criticism from team executive vice-president Tom Coughlin.
Smith made his first public comments about that controversy on Monday during an Instagram live session.
"Understand this, I never left Duval. I'm never leaving Duval; it's Duval 'til we die," he said, referring to Jacksonville's location in Duval County.
"You understand me? You all seen trade rumours and stuff. You all seen me go anywhere? Exactly. I am not going nowhere. You understand me?"
Smith has 445 tackles, nine interceptions, 26 pass breakups, seven sacks and five forced fumbles in five seasons.
He is one of only 13 players in NFL history to notch 100 or more tackles in each of their first five years in the league.