Smith set for 2 court appearances

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Jimmy Smith's smile, athleticism and circus catches made him a crowd favorite when he wore the teal of the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Toward the end of his NFL career however, a darker picture emerged, one clouded with legal trouble stemming from drugs and alcohol. The latest chapter was an April arrest on felony drug charges.

The 40-old Smith has appearances on two court dockets this week. Attorneys have scheduled a hearing Wednesday (postponed from Tuesday) to dispose of 2008 misdemeanor charges of driving under the influence, possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia and transportation of an open container. Also on Wednesday, he has a pretrial hearing on 2009 felony charges of possession of cocaine, marijuana and drug paraphernalia and driving with suspended license.

"Drugs have never been my problem; rather they were always my solution," Smith wrote on his MySpace page after his arrest. Smith noted he had entered a 90-day drug rehabilitation center in Houston.

He has pleaded not guilty to all the charges.

Attempts to reach Smith through his attorney and by e-mail were unsuccessful.

Smith was arrested in late April and was freed on $11,500 bail. A Florida Highway Patrol trooper stopped his 2009 Mercedes to check his window tint.

Troopers found six grams of crack cocaine and two grams of marijuana, a half-smoked joint and rolling papers in Smith's car.

Smith issued a statement saying he was "ashamed and humiliated."

"I realize I cannot be the husband, father, son and citizen I want to be until I overcome my addiction," he said.

Smith was also arrested in August and charged with DUI, having an open container of alcohol and possession of marijuana, all misdemeanors.

Jaguars owner Wayne Weaver and former teammates are concerned with Smith's troubles.

"This saddens me. I'm concerned about Jimmy, his family, and his welfare," Weaver said in April.

Former Jaguars linebacker and now a Jacksonville sports radio talk host Tom McManus said Smith is "a class act, who always treated me and my teammates with respect." He hopes Smith can overcome his problems.

"I feel bad. I've known people who have battled addiction before. It's so tough," McManus said.

Quarterback Mark Brunell, now with the New Orleans Saints, said he never saw any sign of drug use by Smith when they were Jacksonville teammates.

"Clearly Jimmy's made some poor decisions," said Brunell. "He's got a wonderful family, but it's a critical time where he needs to get help and I think he's recognized that he needs help and hopefully he'll make the right decisions from the point on and do things that are going to help not only him but his family."

The man called "J-Smooth" has had his share of adversity.

The former Jackson State star he broke his leg in his rookie NFL season and had an appendectomy with complications the next year.

Smith was out of football in 1994 before the expansion Jaguars signed him in 1995.

After a traffic stop in November 2002, tests showed he had cocaine in his system. He was suspended for the first four games of the 2003 season, although criminal charges were dropped.

The popular receiver retired in 2005. He ranks among the NFL's all-time leading receivers with 862 catches for 12,287. Since retiring, Smith has run Jimmy Smith Athletics to mentor young athletes and teach them the fundamentals of football and basketball.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.