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Jerry Smith: Redskins Great Who Played While Carrying a Huge Burden

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o

 

As most Redskins fans know, Jerry Smith was a tight end for the Redskins for 13 seasons (1965-1977.) At the time that he retired, Smith held the record for the most touchdowns receptions EVER by a tight end, including Hall-of-Famers and all-time greats such as John Mackey, Jackie Smith, and Mike Ditka.)

 

TD RECEPTIONS FOR TIGHT ENDS AT THE TIME OF SMITH'S RETIREMENT (1977)

 

Jerry Smith: llllllllllllllllllll 60

Mike Ditka: lllllllllllllllllllllll 43

Jackie Smith: lllllllllllllllll 40

Jim Mutscheller: lllllllll 40

John Mackey: llllllllllllllllllll 38

 

Smith also played the majority of his career in which quarterbacks and their eligible receivers did not have nearly as much protection from pass interference and illegal use of hands calls as they do today ........ Smith's prime years were from 1965-1975, and the first drastic rule changes that freed pass receivers from being constantly (and indefinitely) bumped down the field by defenders were instituted in 1974.

Also, Smith was the receiver who was wide open in the end zone in Super Bowl VII who almost surely would have caught a touchdown pass on a ball thrown to him by Billy Kilmer had the goal post not gotten in the way of the throw (2 years later, the goalposts were moved to the back of the end zone again for the first time since the 1933 season, where they remain to this day.)

In 1975, Smith gave an anonymous interview to Washington Star reporter Lynn Rosellini in regard to his homosexuality, and the fact that he had to hide it since he had been playing at Arizona State University before the Redskins had drafted him. In a recent NFL Films documentary on Smith, one of his peers stated that it was likely that if Smith had been open about his sexuality while he was playing college ball, he not only would have been booted off of the football team, he may have even have been forced out of the school completely as a student. Subsequently, Smith played his whole college career (and almost his entire professional career) with a great burden, of which one whom is not a homosexual can only imagine.

Unfortunately, Smith died from AIDS-related complications in October of 1986. He was only 43 years-old at the time.

So three cheers for the late Jerry Smith, who was not only one of the greatest players ever to don a Redskins uniform, but who also somehow managed to excel at his trade in spite of having to bear the weight of an enormous burden while doing so.

ooooooooooooo

CAREER STATS: http://www.jt-sw.com/football/pro/players.nsf/ID/04630014

 

 

Jerry-Smith-1967-Philadelphia-189-Rookie-Card-Washington-Redskins-e1347668354878.jpg

 

o

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As most Redskins fans know, Jerry Smith was a tight end for the Redskins for 13 seasons (1965-1977.) At the time that he retired, Smith held the record for the most touchdowns receptions EVER by a tight end, including Hall-of-Famers and all-time greats such as John Mackey, Jackie Smith, and Mike Ditka.)

TD RECEPTIONS FOR TIGHT ENDS AT THE TIME OF SMITH'S RETIREMENT (1977)

Jerry Smith: OOo) 60

Mike Ditka: Ooooo 43

Jackie Smith: Ooo 40

Jim Mutscheller: . 40

John Mackey: O... 38

Smith also played the majority of his career in which quarterbacks and their eligible receivers did not have nearly as much protection from pass interference and illegal use of hands calls as they do today ........ Smith's prime years were from 1965-1975, and the first drastic rule changes that freed pass receivers from being constantly (and indefinitely) bumped down the field by defenders were instituted in 1974.

Also, Smith was the receiver who was wide open in the end zone in Super Bowl VII who almost surely would have caught a touchdown pass on a ball thrown to him by Billy Kilmer had the goal post not gotten in the way of the throw (two years later, the goalposts were moved to the back of the end zone again for the first time since the 1933 season, where they remain to this day.)

In 1975, Smith gave an anonymous interview to Washington Star reporter Lynn Rosellini in regard to his homosexuality, and the fact that he had to hide it since he had been playing at Arizona State University before the Redskins had drafted him. In a recent NFL Films documentary on Smith, one of his peers stated that it was likely that if Smith had been open about his sexuality while he was playing college ball, he not only would have been booted off of the football team, he may have even have been forced out of the school completely as a student. Subsequently, Smith played his whole college career (and almost his entire professional career) with a great burden, of which one whom is not a homosexual can only imagine.

Unfortunately, Smith died from AIDS-related complications in October of 1986. He was only 43 years-old at the time.

So three cheers for the late Jerry Smith, who was not only one of the greatest players ever to don a Redskins uniform, but who also somehow managed to excel at his trade in spite of having to bear the weight of an enormous burden while doing so.

CAREER STATS:O http://www.jt-sw.com/football/pro/players.nsf/ID/04630014

O

Jerry-Smith-1967-Philadelphia-189-Rookie-Card-Washington-Redskins-e1347668354878.jpg

The underlined I think answers a question some have when they ask why is an

openly gay player a big deal. Guys like Smith and others had to hide who they were for fear of losing everything. I've had gay friends, classmates, friends, coworkers,

etc. I really am rooting hard for Michael Sam to succeed. He's a good kid too.

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The underlined I think answers a question some have when they ask why is an

openly gay player a big deal. Guys like Smith and others had to hide who they were for fear of losing everything. I've had gay friends, classmates, friends, coworkers,

etc. I really am rooting hard for Michael Sam to succeed. He's a good kid too.

Back then, I dont think it was necessary a football thing, but more a society thing.

When I grew up, if you didnt stay in the closet, somebody was probably going to bash your head in and gotten away with it.

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OFFNY said:

o

 

As most Redskins fans know, Jerry Smith was a tight end for the Redskins for 13 seasons (1965-1977.) At the time that he retired, Smith held the record for the most touchdowns receptions EVER by a tight end, including Hall-of-Famers and all-time greats such as John Mackey, Jackie Smith, and Mike Ditka.)

 

TD RECEPTIONS FOR TIGHT ENDS AT THE TIME OF SMITH'S RETIREMENT (1977)

 

Jerry Smith: llllllllllllllllllll 60

Mike Ditka: lllllllllllllllllllllll 43

Jackie Smith: lllllllllllllllll 40

Jim Mutscheller: lllllllll 40

John Mackey: llllllllllllllllllll 38

 

o

o

 

Also, rather incredibly, Smith's record of 60 TD receptions by a tight end stood for 26 years, until Shannon Sharpe finally broke it in his final season in 2003.

 

o

OFFNY said:

o

 

Smith also played the majority of his career in which quarterbacks and their eligible receivers did not have nearly as much protection from pass interference and illegal use of hands calls as they do today ........ Smith's prime years were from 1965-1975, and the first drastic rule changes that freed pass receivers from being constantly (and indefinitely) bumped down the field by defenders were instituted in 1974.

 

o

o

 

Also, Sharpe, who barely eclipsed Smith's record (Sharpe finished his career with 62 TD receptions, only 2 more than Smith), played his entire career in an era in which receivers had an enormous advantage in regard to pass interference and illegal use of hands penalties as to what Smith had when he played for the majority of his career.

 

o

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Also, rather incredibly, Smith's record of 60 TD receptions by a tight end stood for 26 years, until Shannon Sharpe finally broke it in his final season in 2003.

Also, Sharpe, who barely eclipsed Smith's record (Sharpe finished his career with 62 TD receptions, only 2 more than Smith), played his entire career in an era in which receivers had an enormous advantage in regard to pass interference and illegal use of hands penalties as to what Smith had when he played for the majority of his career.

OFFNY,

You know I was thinking, the game of football has changed so much from that ERA, to now. Hard for some to grasp how much it has. Old football films don't do it justice either.

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TonySoprano said:
 
The word was out on Jerry Smith when he was still playing, and if the public knew, his teammates knew.
 

o

 

Some of his teammates did know. Several of them said as much in the documentary, and some said that they had "suspected," but never bothered to ask him, because they didn't care.

Charley Taylor also said that at one time, the Redskins had the reputation for having the most gay players on their team, but Taylor (and his Redskins teammates at-large) didn't care, as long as they could play football well.

In any case, whether or not some of the public knew about Smith and/or any other gay football players at the time didn't make the burden that Smith played under any less.

This is a clip from part of the documentary that I had seen on Smith. Included are comments from the aforementioned Charley Taylor, Larry Brown, Billy Kilmer, and Lynn Rosellini (the Washington Star reporter whom Smith gave an interview to about his homosexuality in the twilight of his career in 1975.)

 

http://www.nfl.com/videos/washington-redskins/0ap2000000316202/A-Football-Life-Jerry-Smith-Private-life-becomes-public

 

o

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Back then, I dont think it was necessary a football thing, but more a society thing.

When I grew up, if you didnt stay in the closet, somebody was probably going to bash your head in and gotten away with it.

Yeah, I know what you mean. My point is it's a good thing that society has

progressed on this sort of thing.

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I was very young in the early 1970s, but I was a local sports fanatic even in elementary school.

Those over-the-hill gang guys were fun to watch. They were old, but they gave 100%.

Jerry Smith was among my favorites from those teams and it is nice to be reminded of his quality play today.

Those were fun, fun Redskin teams in the 1970s with Kilmer, Taylor, Larry Brown, Ken Houston, Jerry Smith, Chris Hanburger, Harold McClinton and, of course, the human holding penalty machine George Stark.

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Sonny was my favorite, little Pat Fischer, Ron McDole - the dancing bear, Diron Talbert, Bill Brundige, Jack Pardee later became HC, Charlie Harraway....

I've been lucky enough to meet several "old" timers, and they have been really good to meet in person, and seem a bit smaller in person, than on TV and on the field.

Ron McDole, Ron Saul, Roy Jefferson, Mark Moseley.

By the way, most people think McDole got his name from his play on the field. But, Sonny and Tom Brookshier was out with McDole one night and the guy was big time dancing on the dance floor with the ladies and Sonny came up with the tag, the dancing bear, and it stuck with him.

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On 2/10/2014 at 3:17 PM, OFFNY said:

o

 

As most Redskins fans know, Jerry Smith was a tight end for the Redskins for 13 seasons (1965-1977.) At the time that he retired, Smith held the record for the most touchdowns receptions EVER by a tight end, including Hall-of-Famers and all-time greats such as John Mackey, Jackie Smith, and Mike Ditka.)

 

TD RECEPTIONS FOR TIGHT ENDS AT THE TIME OF SMITH'S RETIREMENT (1977)

 

Jerry Smith: llllllllllllllllllll 60

Mike Ditka: lllllllllllllllllllllll 43

Jackie Smith: lllllllllllllllll 40

Jim Mutscheller: lllllllll 40

John Mackey: llllllllllllllllllll 38

 

Smith also played the majority of his career in which quarterbacks and their eligible receivers did not have nearly as much protection from pass interference and illegal use of hands calls as they do today ........ Smith's prime years were from 1965-1975, and the first drastic rule changes that freed pass receivers from being constantly (and indefinitely) bumped down the field by defenders were instituted in 1974.

Also, Smith was the receiver who was wide open in the end zone in Super Bowl VII who almost surely would have caught a touchdown pass on a ball thrown to him by Billy Kilmer had the goal post not gotten in the way of the throw (2 years later, the goalposts were moved to the back of the end zone again for the first time since the 1933 season, where they remain to this day.)

In 1975, Smith gave an anonymous interview to Washington Star reporter Lynn Rosellini in regard to his homosexuality, and the fact that he had to hide it since he had been playing at Arizona State University before the Redskins had drafted him. In a recent NFL Films documentary on Smith, one of his peers stated that it was likely that if Smith had been open about his sexuality while he was playing college ball, he not only would have been booted off of the football team, he may have even have been forced out of the school completely as a student. Subsequently, Smith played his whole college career (and almost his entire professional career) with a great burden, of which one whom is not a homosexual can only imagine.

Unfortunately, Smith died from AIDS-related complications in October of 1986. He was only 43 years-old at the time.

So three cheers for the late Jerry Smith, who was not only one of the greatest players ever to don a Redskins uniform, but who also somehow managed to excel at his trade in spite of having to bear the weight of an enormous burden while doing so.

ooooooooooooo

CAREER STATS: http://www.jt-sw.com/football/pro/players.nsf/ID/04630014

 

 

Jerry-Smith-1967-Philadelphia-189-Rookie-Card-Washington-Redskins-e1347668354878.jpg

 

o

o

 

This the the 45-minute documentary on Smith that I cited in the 3rd/4th paragraph of the OP.

 

 

 

o

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On 2/12/2014 at 5:22 PM, TonySoprano said:

The word was out on Jerry Smith when he was still playing, and if the public knew, his teammates knew.

I got the impression, he never came ever came out, came out.

Quote

We had some 'check-cashers' with the Redskins," Jurgensen says. "You know, guys who made their living playing professional football. Nothing against them, but they weren't football players. They weren't one of us. They weren't Jerry Smith."

Smith, who played for Washington from 1965 to '77, never said how he contracted AIDS—never publicly discussed his sexual orientation, period—and the weeping men surrounding his bed at Holy Cross Hospital in Silver Spring, Md., didn't give a damn. "I don't know how many of the players even knew he was gay," says Jurgensen, who was usually among the eight or 10 former teammates who visited Smith on any given day, "but I'll tell you one thing: If they had known, they wouldn't have cared."

The closest Smith came to discussing his lifestyle with Jurgensen was when he turned in his hospital bed and whispered, "Sonny, I never should have gone to Austin."

"I already knew that," the old quarterback says, "because he told Brig Owens the same thing: 'I never should have gone to Texas.'" Smith lived in Austin in the early '80s and owned one of the city's premier gay bars, The Boathouse.

https://www.si.com/vault/2016/02/11/he-was-one-us

 

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