Dynamic Wide Receiver Tandem Keenan McCardell & Jimmy Smith Profiled on NFL Network’s ‘A Football Life’

‘Keenan McCardell & Jimmy Smith: A Football Life’ Premieres Friday, December 19 at 9:00 PM ET on NFL Network

Advance Premiere Airs Following Titans-Jaguars on ‘Thursday Night Football’

“Those two guys put Jacksonville on the map. I don’t think they’ve had anybody close to that or probably will ever have anyone close to those two wide receivers.” – Steve Smith Sr.

For six seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars, Keenan McCardell and Jimmy Smith – nicknamed Thunder and Lightning – combined for more yards and receptions than any other wide receiver tandem in the NFL during that time period. Yet while one of them has been able to transition well to life outside of the NFL, the other is still trying to find his way.

NFL Network’s series A Football Life continues Friday, December 19 at 9:00 PM ET with the story of McCardell and Smith, one of the most dynamic receiving duos in NFL history. The one-hour NFL Films-produced documentary includes McCardell visiting Smith at his home in Mississippi while Smith was on house arrest to reminisce about their playing time together. Keenan McCardell & Jimmy Smith: A Football Life also addresses Smith’s struggles with drug use, the perception that it was the cause of his sudden retirement, and the recovery process that is still taking place.

An advance premiere of Keenan McCardell & Jimmy Smith: A Football Life airs on Thursday, December 18 following the conclusion of the Thursday Night Football game between the Tennessee Titans and Jacksonville Jaguars.

Following the premiere of Keenan McCardell & Jimmy Smith: A Football Life on NFL Network, the episode – along with the entire A Football Life series – will be available on NFL Now, the League’s next-generation video service. Providing fans access to the largest digital library of NFL video anywhere, NFL Now dynamically personalizes each fan’s viewing experience, allowing them to follow their favorite NFL teams and players. Visit NFL.com/now for more information.

Every episode of A Football Life – as well as all NFL Network programming – is streamed live on NFL Mobile from Verizon, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Among the topics discussed in Keenan McCardell & Jimmy Smith: A Football Life are:

  • The on-field numbers Jimmy Smith and Keenan McCardell amassed as a receiving tandem in Jacksonville
  • Defeating the Buffalo Bills and Denver Broncos on the road in 1996 playoffs to make it to the AFC Championship Game
  • Losing to the Tennessee Titans three times in the 1999 season – the team’s only three losses the entire season
  • Smith’s time as a backup wide receiver with the Dallas Cowboys
  • McCardell winning a Super Bowl with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after being cut by the Jaguars
  • Smith’s off-field issues with drug use and his ongoing recovery

Emmy-nominated actor Josh Charles narrates.

Keenan McCardell & Jimmy Smith: A Football Life includes interviews with the following people and more:

Jimmy Smith

Keenan McCardell

Etta Smith – Jimmy’s mother

Trey Smith – Jimmy’s son

Mark Brunell – Jaguars teammate

Tony Boselli – Jaguars teammate

Fred Taylor – Jaguars teammate

Tom Coughlin – Former Jaguars head coach

Steve Smith Sr. – Ravens wide receiver

Jerry Jones – Cowboys owner

Troy Aikman – Hall of Fame quarterback

Pete Prisco – Former Florida Times-Union writer

Mark Rypien – Former Redskins quarterback

Samari Rolle – Former Titans defensive back

Brad Johnson – Former Buccaneers quarterback

Provided below are some select quotes from Keenan McCardell & Jimmy Smith: A Football Life:

“Being a professional player, sometimes you think that you’re above the law. You have to have someone to tell you no sometimes, and it’s hard because who’s going to tell you no? You have to have that person that is going to see through all of the stardom and the money and the fame, and say, ‘You have to stop.’ I would have had that if someone would have known about it. I had those people around me but I hid it so well.” Jimmy Smith

“They were inseparable. They were just about like brothers.” – Etta Smith

“Those two guys put Jacksonville on the map. I don’t think they’ve had anybody close to that or probably will ever have anyone close to those two wide receivers.” – Steve Smith Sr.

“For us, it wasn’t a shock that we made these plays. We had so much confidence in each other that we were not going to let each other down.” – Keenan McCardell

“I was shocked. I had never had an occasion to question him and he had never indicated to me anything but straight, truthful answers. So myself and the legal team believed him. We believed him.” – Tom Coughlin

“I never doubted any of his decisions because he never gave me anything to say that I shouldn’t trust him.” – Keenan McCardell

“The unfortunate thing is that they thought I retired because I failed a drug test. I had one year left on my contract and I was tired; I was actually tired the year before. I was just like what else do I have to play for?” – Jimmy Smith

“It was painful. You don’t raise your children to have this happen to them.” – Etta Smith

“People like Keenan in this business today are needed to tell them the work that has to go into succeeding. Players can relate to somebody like Keenan McCardell.” – Tom Coughlin

This season, A Football Life airs Friday at 9:00 PM ET on NFL Network. Below is the broadcast schedule for upcoming episodes of A Football Life:

  • January 2 – The 2006 Rose Bowl

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