Telvin Smith needs time.
The standout Jaguars linebacker announced Thursday he will sit out the 2019 NFL season for his own health.
“It was said to me from a great coach, that in order for the man to be his best, he must get his world in order,” he said in a statement on Instagram. “At this time I must take time away from this game & get my world in order. I must give this time back to myself, my family, & my health.”
The 28-year-old would have been entering his sixth year in the NFL, having emerged as a key piece of a vaunted defense. He was an All-Star in 2017 and made 134 tackles while playing all 16 games last season.
He had made headlines by being absent for Jacksonville’s voluntary minicamp, for which VP of football operations Tom Coughlin called him out. Smith knew not everyone would be understanding of his decision.
“I appreciate all the support I will & will not get,” he said. “I just ask y’all respect my decision to not play football this season. I know the rumors of trade talk came about, but I started my career in Jacksonville & the day I do decided to call it quits it will be right here in Duval.”
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