As the Jets and then-free agent quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick dragged contract negotiations well into the summer, 25-year-old Geno Smith looked like he might start the season under center. Then, the team struck a one-year, $12 million deal with Fitzpatrick, relegating Smith to the backup role.
In an interview with Bleacher Report’s Tyler Dunne, Smith expressed he was—and still is—upset the Jets brought back the veteran.
“I’m still pissed off,” he said, adding that he is “way too talented” to be a backup.
After throwing 12 touchdowns and 21 interceptions in his rookie season, he improved slightly in 2014, completing 59.7% of his passes for 13 scores with 13 picks. He was competing for the starting job with Fitzpatrick, who the Jets acquired in a trade last off-season, before he broke his jaw in a fight with teammate IK Enemkpali.
In the interview, Smith also revealed that the two have made up:
He could've pressed charges, could've sent Enemkpali to jail.
Instead, the two actually talked it out. Enemkpali apologized, and Smith accepted that apology. Smith wanted to become a story of inspiration, not bristling vindication. He refused to be a victim.
"I think he did something in the moment he didn't really want to do," Smith says. "People don't know me and him had a really good relationship. I wouldn't have been invited to the camp if not. I want to use that situation as my story to tell the little kids back home that this happened to me and I didn't let it stop me.
"That situation is not going to define me. It never has and never will. I'm too good of a player to let something like that stop me from playing in this league."
The Jets draw a matchup with the Seattle Seahawks this Sunday at 1 p.m. ET in New Jersey. Smith will be watching from the sidelines.
– Kenny Ducey