Ex-Jags LB Smith signs plea deal, avoids underage sex charge

NFL Dallas

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP)Former Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker Telvin Smith pleaded no contest Friday to child abuse, avoiding an underage sex charge, and received three years of probation.

According to court documents, the state withheld adjudication and set several conditions for Smith’s probation. He can’t have any contact with the minor involved in the case. He also must undergo psychosexual counseling and was ordered to have no contact with any girls under the age of 18.

Smith’s attorney, Hank Coxe, said state laws allowed his client to take a plea deal that was ”in his best interest while maintaining his innocence.”

”Great player. Great person. Great father. Huge fan of this town,” Coxe said. ”He will move on and do fine.”

Smith, 30, was arrested in April 2020 and accused of having sex with a 17-year-old girl multiple times, both at his home and in his vehicle, in 2019. The victim told a friend and family member what happened after the first encounter with Smith. Investigators found evidence in Smith’s car linking him to the victim.

Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office deputies were at Smith’s home in November 2019, and his SUV was towed. He was not arrested then.

A fifth-round draft pick from Florida State in 2014 and a Pro Bowl selection in 2017, Smith announced in April 2019 that he was stepping away from football to ”get my world in order.”

Smith had 586 total tackles with 445 solo tackles, nine interceptions, 7+ sacks and five forced fumbles in five seasons in Jacksonville. He’s one of only 13 players in NFL history to record 100 or more tackles in each of their first five years in the league.

He signed a four-year, $45 million extension in October 2017 that included $20 million guaranteed. He restructured that deal in March 2018, turning an $8 million roster bonus into a signing bonus to create extra cap space for the team.

He walked away from $9.75 million in 2019 and has three years remaining on his contract, if he were to attempt a comeback.

The Jaguars fined Smith more than $88,000 for missing a mandatory minicamp in 2019. Smith avoided future fines by filing retirement paperwork with the NFL.

Jacksonville placed him on the league’s reserve/retired list, which paused his contract and freed up a roster spot. It also protected Smith from fines and NFL testing policies.

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