Smith, Jimmy “Silk”

Cards: Star Pics 1992, ProSet 1992
Acquired: Dallas Cowboys Training Camp 1992
See Also: Jimmy Smith Lightning

Another one of these great autograph stories was Jimmy Smith out of tiny Jackson State University. His rookie Star Pics 1992 card I had extensive player information on the back, down to things like nicknames, so when I saw players, I was sure to initiate contact with them by calling them by that nick. Jimmy was seeing the trainers along with Ricky Blake and a few other players in training camp and Josh and I had shrewdly decided to camp our spot in autograph alley throughout the whole morning practice. We recognized Smith so I erroneously called him ‘Slick’. When he signed my cards and told me his nickname was silk,  -we looked at the back of his card, to which I admitted I was wrong . We had a good laugh at my expense, so he was sure to add in his nickname with parenthesis so I could get it right. (He was a rare 2 card signer.)

Jimmy was a second round choice of the Dallas Cowboys, who were looking for that special slot receiver to go with Alvin Harper and Michael Irvin. Smith would find himself on injured reserve from a broken leg in 1992 and a freak appendectomy in 1993.  The team would become impatient with him and cut Smith in 1994 over the fault of the appendectomy Smith had sustained. The Eagles would immediately claim him off of waivers but he would not make the roster of the squad. For all points and purposes- Jimmy Smith’s career was dead on arrival after 3 seasons, -but Jimmy’s mom would not be deterred.

On a whim, Tom Coughlin coach of the expansion Jacksonville Jaguars would give Jimmy a final shot because his mother sent a highlight tape for Coach Coughlin to look at. Smith’s first season with the Jags in 1995 was more like a rookie season for him as he had never seen the field playing for the Cowboys. He’d quietly earn 288 yards and 22 receptions, scoring his first 3 touchdowns of his career. In 1996 however, Silk would burst onto the NFL scene with his first of 7 consecutive 1,000 yard seasons. Injury would slow Smith down in 2003 where he’d only notch 800 yards, but he’d return to form for his final two seasons in 2004 and 2005 with 1,000 yards in each season for the Jaguars. A devastating combo when paired with Keenan McCardell, Smith as the career leader in yards and touchdowns for the Jaguar franchise. His 12,000+ yards ranked him 10th all time at retirement. So much for a guy who was cut by the Cowboys out of spite over medical issues… From 1997-2001 Jimmy would be named to the ProBowl and in 1999 he’d lead the NFL in receptions with 116 (6th in NFL history at the time).

Jimmy from time to time has had some issues with drugs, and with the backlog of wide receivers now waiting to get into the Hall has not made it easier for him to find himself anywhere near the final ballot. He currently resides in Florida and works in radio.  I’ll probably make another loop around later to get Jimmy as I have another card or two of his I’d love to get signed.

G/Gs 178/150   Rec  862      Yds  12287       Avg  14.3      Td 67      Lg  75T