A Football Life Jerry Smith Watch Online

Saturday, January 25, 2020 7:35:03 PM

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'A Football Life': Jerry Smith keeps his secret from the world

Great player, true legend. But Smith caught 90 more passes than Mackey for more yards, and scored 22 more touchdowns.

Mike Ditka? He caught eight more balls than Smith for more yards, but had 17 fewer touchdowns. But when Sonny Jurgensen had to complete a pass, he usually looked to Smith.

He was also gay. Smith died of AIDS in Even to this day, no NFL player has, and to do so was unthinkable in the s.

However, he agreed to be interviewed by a Washington Star reporter for a story about his life as a gay athlete. Even with those conditions, it was a courageous move. Indeed, by the mids, the suspicion went beyond the team. Still, the Redskins of that era were a mature, broad-minded, live-and-let-live bunch.

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Under George Allen, Washington became home to various misfits and non-conformists — e. Duane Thomas and John Riggins. Many of the core team members marched to their own beat, except on the football field.

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But it almost certainly would have had some impact, and would have created a media circus by the standards of that day. Smith was well-advised to eschew that path.

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The extent of that support is unclear, however. But the support of George Allen, the ultra-conservative old Redskins coach, is documented by a letter he wrote to the dying Smith. As I said, make sure you have some tissues handy if you watch.

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