Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker Telvin Smith said he won’t play the 2019 season for personal reasons.
A full-time starter the past four seasons and a 2017 Pro Bowler, Smith made the announcement Thursday on 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 y’all respect my decision to not play football this season.”
He also affirmed he doesn’t plan to play for any team other than the Jaguars, despite rumors of a possible trade.
Smith, 28, was set to earn a base salary of $9.75 million this season. He signed a four-year, $45 million extension in October 2017.
A fifth-round pick by Jacksonville in 2014, Smith posted a career-high 134 tackles in 2018. He also has 26 pass breakups and nine interceptions in his five-year career.
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 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? Y’all seen trade rumors and stuff. Y’all seen me go anywhere? Exactly. Y’all seen the rumors go somewhere, but y’all ain’t seen me go nowhere cause I ain’t going nowhere. You understand me?”
Smith promised his followers Monday that they would learn more “this week” about what’s going on.