Former NFL star gets chance to help kids

July 30, 2009 at 1:21 PM
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla., July 30 (UPI) -- Jimmy Smith, the former Jacksonville Jaguar Pro Bowl receiver, says he considers himself lucky to get nabbed on DUI and drug charges.

He thinks it probably saved his life.

Smith, now 40 and retired, said he appreciated the judge's sentence, giving him the opportunity to talk to young people to dissuade them from dealing with problems the way he did.

On Wednesday, Duval County Judge Brent Shore sentenced Smith to a year of probation and 50 hours community service on the 2008 charge. He ordered Smith to spend those hours talking with public school children and youth groups about alcohol abuse.

"My life became unmanageable," Smith told the Jacksonville Times-Union after pleading no-contest to misdemeanor charges of drunken driving and possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia. "Had that police officer not stopped me, I could have been dead or I could have run over somebody like my colleague, Donté Stallworth."

Stallworth, a receiver for the Cleveland Browns, was released this month after 24 days in jail for fatally striking a pedestrian after a night of drinking at a Miami Beach nightclub.

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