LB Smith honors retiring Posluszny
JACKSONVILLE — Paul Posluszny’s teammate for four years, it took six seconds for Jaguars linebacker Telvin Smith to become emotional Monday while introducing the retiring Posluszny.
Such was the bond between Posluszny and Smith, but the packed meeting room at EverBank Field was equally emblematic of the impact Posluszny had on the entire organization during his seven-season stay on the roster.
“As soon as I met him, I knew I had a guy I could trust and depend on,” Smith said as a teary-eyed Posluszny watched from the front row. “I never thought I would meet somebody who didn’t grow up in the struggle that I did and love the game as much as I did. He understood what hard work and perseverance meant.”
Looking at Posluszny, Smith added: “Just know I’ve never met a better man than you. I’ve never had a better teammate than you.”
Posluszny, 33, announced his retirement last month, leaving the Jaguars as the second-leading tackler in franchise history (984). But the team hosted an official ceremony like they have for several former players over the years.
Attending were Blake Bortles, Calais Campbell, Myles Jack, Lerentee McCray, Keelan Cole, Cam Robinson, Jaydon Mickens, Shane Wynn and Blair Brown along with Rashean Mathis, Josh Scobee and Austen Lane, coach Doug Marrone, defensive coordinator Todd Wash, linebackers coach Mark Collins and executives Tom Coughlin and Dave Caldwell.
Acknowledging the players, Posluszny said: “Playing here and the reason why I love the game so much and why playing in the NFL was so important to me was to have the opportunity to be around you guys. A great fear of mine is I don’t know where to find that kind of bond in the rest of society.”
Posluszny opened his remarks by recognizing individuals from the Jaguars’ coaching, medical, equipment, video, public-relations and ticketing staffs before offering insight into his decision to retire.
Even though he made it through the season healthy, Posluszny — his contract set to expire — walked off the Gillette Stadium field on Jan. 21 following the Jaguars’ AFC title-game loss to New England knowing retirement was an option.
“It wasn’t finalized until a couple weeks after that, but I knew going into that game, it could possibly be my last and I knew my time was coming,” Posluszny said.
The reason: Posluszny was not meeting his standard of play.
“I didn’t want to go back on the field and be a step too slow,” Posluszny said. “If I’m out there with Telvin and Myles and they expect me to do something and I miss the play because I held on a year too long, I don’t know how I would look at them. That was unacceptable to me. Avoiding that was the most important thing. I would rather leave a year too early than one play too late.”
A month after his official retirement, it still was, Posluszny said, “The most difficult thing I’ve ever had to do when it comes to our profession just because I know I’m going to miss it and because it was an enormous part of my life. I know watching is going to be extremely difficult. I think my mental nightmares are coming.”