The human element emerged again this week to remind us that it remains the NFL’s ultimate X-factor.

Doug Baldwin and Kam Chancellor were likely nudged into early retirement, released with “injury designations,” which is a nice way of saying that for the violent game of football, their bodies are broken beyond repair. Sure, it was expected. But the official act was significant enough. Gone are two more key cogs from that Seattle Seahawks Super Bowl era that was too short.

As the 12s mourned, Telvin Smith announced on Instagram that he is hanging up the spikes – at least for the coming season – to deal with personal issues. The Jaguars linebacker was a bit vague, but he dropped some serious clues in explaining that he needed to get his “world back in order.” He mentioned the need to give time back to his family and a desire to get his body right.

Here’s hoping that whatever Smith is dealing with, he gets it handled – and not just because he’s a tackling machine whose absence leaves a huge hole in the middle of one of the NFL’s best defenses.

“I kind of put football to the side,” Jaguars coach Doug Marrone said on Friday as he opened a rookie minicamp. “That, to me, is an afterthought right now in concern with Telvin.”

As it should be.