A Football Life - Jerry Smith

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A Football Life - Jerry Smith

Postby Deadskins » Fri Jan 17, 2014 5:01 pm

A Football Life next Tuesday will be about the career of Redskins great, Jerry Smith. If you never saw him play (or even if you did), you should definitely check it out.
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Re: A Football Life - Jerry Smith

Postby Countertrey » Fri Jan 17, 2014 5:53 pm

Deadskins wrote:A Football Life next Tuesday will be about the career of Redskins great, Jerry Smith. If you never saw him play (or even if you did), you should definitely check it out.

About time.
This might help to get the Hall voters off their bigoted butts...

... and, as Deadskins says... if you never saw him play, you should check this out. Jerry Smith was money. Period.
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Re: A Football Life - Jerry Smith

Postby welch » Fri Jan 17, 2014 10:21 pm

Countertrey wrote:
Deadskins wrote:A Football Life next Tuesday will be about the career of Redskins great, Jerry Smith. If you never saw him play (or even if you did), you should definitely check it out.

About time.
This might help to get the Hall voters off their bigoted butts...

... and, as Deadskins says... if you never saw him play, you should check this out. Jerry Smith was money. Period.


Best pass-receiving TE in Redskin history. Few things more glorious than Sonny Jurgensen waddling to the center, looking right and left as he hitched his pants over his beer-belly, and then snapping a perfect pass to Charlie Taylor, Jerry Smith, Bobby Mitchell or Roy Jefferson, or Larry Brown. Three of them already in the Hall of Fame, while Brown and Smith ought to be.

- an early sports radio interview with Jim Brown, who had just retired:
Q: "Jim, is there any running back now playing that you admire?"
A: "Larry Brown does some things I could never do. He has the quickest start I've ever seen". [Note: Jim Brown was not known for humility]

- Sonny Jurgensen during his first broadcast after George Allen forced him to retire:
Q: "The Redskins are trailing late in the third quarter. It looks bad. What would you do, Sonny?"
A: "First thing I'd do is get Jerry Smith in the danged game". [George Allen favored a big TE he'd signed from the Cowboys; Allen had left Smith on the bench]

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Re: A Football Life - Jerry Smith

Postby welch » Tue Jan 21, 2014 4:36 pm

Preview by Dan Steinberg of tonight's NFL Films "Life" about Jerry Smith. Hard to believe "casual fans" know of Jerry Smith mainly because he died of AIDS. I would have expected that people knew Jerry Smnith as the finest TE of the '60s and '70s, or didn't know anything about him. Note Sonny's comment.

We’ll have a longer post on this at some point, but in case you haven’t heard, here’s an alert: NFL Network’s latest “A Football Life” debuts Tuesday night at 9, and it has a major Redskins focus.

The topic is two-time Pro Bowl tight end Jerry Smith, who at the time of his retirement had caught more touchdowns than any tight end in NFL history. To casual fans, he is perhaps better known for personal reasons: Smith, who was gay, later died from AIDS. Among the D.C. figures featured in the movie are Sonny Jurgensen, Bobby Mitchell, Charley Taylor, Chris Hanburger, Brig Owens, Dave Kopay, Larry Brown, Billy Kilmer, Calvin Hill, Jean Fugett, Bruce Allen, Mark Murphy, George Solomon, Leonard Shapiro and David Maraniss. That’s a pretty heady list for Redskins fans who still remember the ’70s.

The filmmakers also interviewed Bonnie Gilchrist, a pretty well-known Montgomery County high school volleyball coach and Smith’s sister, which I never actually knew, despite interviewing her many times.

Smith’s teammates, needless to say, rave about the man in the film.

“When you needed a play to be made, you knew you could throw the ball to him and you knew some way, somehow he was going to catch the thing,” Jurgensen says in the film, according to a press release.

“This guy was a tremendous football player. Tough as nails, great hands – just so dependable,” Mitchell says.

Outsports’s Cyd Zeigler, who has seen the movie, wrote an extremely favorable review:


NFL Network’s ‘A Football Life’ episode about former Washington Redskins tight end Jerry Smith fully embraces the man’s sexual orientation as it weaves the story of one of the greatest tight ends to have ever played the game.

The hourlong piece is entirely about two things: Smith’s excellence on the field and his sexual orientation. Various former teammates of Smith are interviewed, including Brig Owens (his roommate), quarterback Billy Kilmer and running back Larry Brown. All of the men talk about Smith being gay, how they found out, when they suspected and when they knew. For many of the men, it was the first time they had ever interacted with a gay man.

“One of the things I learned is that a person’s sexual preference has nothing to do with their heart,” former running back Calvin Hill says during the piece.

Owens, Hill and Smith’s friend David Mixner will join Jenn Brown for a 30-minute back-story program after the film, also on NFL Network.

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Re: A Football Life - Jerry Smith

Postby Countertrey » Tue Jan 21, 2014 5:31 pm

Why are only 3 of us in this thread? People... this was a GREAT player, who has been disrespected by the press. There is no reasonable explanation for his absence in Canton. Perhaps traffic will pick up after folks have seen tonight's "A Football Life".
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Re: A Football Life - Jerry Smith

Postby Neo » Tue Jan 21, 2014 7:55 pm

Call me crazy, but I think Jordan Reed has potential to be the next Jerry Smith. Still early in his career, but I have faith in him.
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Re: A Football Life - Jerry Smith

Postby Kilmer72 » Tue Jan 21, 2014 8:04 pm

Neo wrote:Call me crazy, but I think Jordan Reed has potential to be the next Jerry Smith. Still early in his career, but I have faith in him.


I think Reed has the potential if his head will be ok. This thread is really about the pioneer at TE. He set the standard for which TE today try to emulate.

I was extremely young and honestly I don't remember him much. He wasn't used too much when I was old enough to understand what I was seeing.

I would watch but no TV at the moment for me :(

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Re: A Football Life - Jerry Smith

Postby frankcal20 » Tue Jan 21, 2014 10:20 pm

Just watched and WOW! I was born in '78 so can't say I saw him but had heard about him practically my whole life. You can tell more than anything that this team was so close that something like someone's sexual preference wasn't going to interfere with the ultimate team goal.

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Re: A Football Life - Jerry Smith

Postby Countertrey » Tue Jan 21, 2014 10:42 pm

Very well done. Simply one of the best ever... money on 3rd down... super dangerous in the Red Zone... fantastic hand and body control... incredible patterns... absolutely selfless, and, next to Larry Brown, probably the toughest Redskin ever... it makes me sick that they won't look at him for the HOF...

There are still 3 from that era that need to be in... Smith, Brown, and Fischer, in that order.
Calvin Hill was an odd choice as a representative of the team... he was only with the Skins for a year, I think... maybe two (great Cowboy, though... if there can be such a thing).
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Re: A Football Life - Jerry Smith

Postby welch » Tue Jan 21, 2014 10:43 pm

Just as a TE: note Sonny Jurgensen's comment about technique. Jerry didn't reach down for the ball...he put his entire body down, he slid, he caught the pass against his chest even when the pass was six inches off the ground. I don't remember it often before Jerry Smith.

Another thing: notice the passes in which the ball is tipped and Smith changes direction, jump backward, snares the ball while the defenders are flat-footed, a heart-beat slower to react.

Jerry Smith should be in the Hall of Fame. Not a question. Additional thought: Not only did the NFL play 14 game seasons in Smith's time, but George Allen hated to throw a pass. Allen preferred Billy to Sonny because Sonny was going to throw. Jerry Smith played his last six or seven seasons on Old George's defense-first teams, and Sonny was out for most of the '71 and '72 seasons.

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Re: A Football Life - Jerry Smith

Postby welch » Wed Jan 22, 2014 1:03 pm

http://www.nfl.com/videos/washington-re ... ouble-life

For those who missed the broadcast, here is the NFL.com video. I hope the video includes the 30 - 45 minutes of live discussion with Brig Owens, Calvin Hill, and with a friend of Smith's named Mixner -- someone who thought that he and Smith were the only gay men on the Arizona Sate University campus.

Overpowering show.

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Re: A Football Life - Jerry Smith

Postby Countertrey » Wed Jan 22, 2014 5:26 pm

welch wrote:Overpowering show.


Agree... I did choke up a bit, a couple of times. You forget just how good some of these guys were...
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Re: A Football Life - Jerry Smith

Postby welch » Thu Jan 23, 2014 2:30 am

Countertrey wrote:
welch wrote:Overpowering show.


Agree... I did choke up a bit, a couple of times. You forget just how good some of these guys were...


Me, too. Some of it was seeing Brig Owns, looking young (to me) and fit, as I remembered his smart and classy play. A lot was watching Jerry Smith work: all those passes from Sonny, like two brains communicating direclty, some was Jerry slding to make a catch, some was Smith slipping away from defenders after the catch. Oh, and the TD catches. Sonny was matchless, and he had Bobby Mitchell, Charley Taylor, Jerry Smith, and then Larry Brown...Sonny's pass almost handed to a receiver, they were so connected. Smith cathing passes in full stride, securely on his finger-tips (ha!).

And every player -- all great ones -- talking about Jerry Smith the great teammate...not the prima-donna receiver (we see one in the Jerry Rice Story) but the fuy who had your back. A special moment: Jerry Smith gets off the bus after a loss and seeks out Billy's wife. Tells here "it was my fault for dropping a pass. Please tell Billy". Jerry Smith after Old Geroge brought in Jean Fugett to replace Jerry, and Sonny, broadcasting his first year, saying, "If the Redskins are going to come back, the first thing I'd do it get Jerry Smith in the ball game". Fugett was big, a blocker, but never had Smith's hands or Smith's acobatic ability to twist in the air and lean back for a tipped ball while the defensive backs just look up.

Jerry Smith the man. I don't know how he kept his sexuality within the team, and even then within a small circle (Brig, for instance) who understood. In the late '60s and early '70s, a lot of us grew long hair and wore loose clothes and beads (OK...not me, though my girlfriend tried, at least, to get me to wear bell-bottoms. Unsuccessfull). People came out, including more than a third of my friends from college. That scared me...what did it say about me that for two or three years these were my closest friends? Eventually, but 1971 / 72, I understood that my many old friends, out of the closest, were the same people I had liked so much. That was a surprise. The people who annoyed me still annoyed me. The people I trusted with my life were still the people I trusted. What had it ben like for them? I could only guess, and admire their fortitude.

We were nobodies. Jerry Smith was a star of the Redskins. If he had come out, his teammates would have suppprted him, but the league, the other players, would have gone wild with disgust. How many Redskin fans would have forgotten he was our great TE? I don't know, but probably many though maybe not. Different times.

So many moments in that film. A high point for me: Old George sending the dying Jerry a telegram about joining the Over the Hill Gang. Learning that Vince Lombardi's brother was gay.

One thing stands out: when Smithretired, he led the NFL in all-time TD by a TE. The record stood for 27 years, being broken only when rules were changed to favor passing.

Jerry belomgs in the Hall of Fame.

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Re: A Football Life - Jerry Smith

Postby HEROHAMO » Thu Jan 23, 2014 7:18 am

Great player. Another Redskin that needs to be recognized in the Hall.
Sean Taylor starting free safety Heavens team!

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