While Geno Smith’s public image took a beating – courtesy of reports painting him as an aloof diva with unrealistic expectations – the Jets rookie quarterback has kept his head burrowed in his playbook.
And while he’s dominated headlines over the past two weeks for the wrong reasons, Smith maintained he’s focused on more important things: getting acclimated to the NFL.
“I think it’s been a more eventful few weeks for the media,” he said in the locker room, following the first day of rookie minicamp. “I’ve just been my natural old self. Nothing’s changed, I’m not feeling any way towards any of it. Like I said, I [couldn’t] care less about it. My only job is to focus on what I have here and get better.”
Soon after he fired his agents following last month’s draft, reports surfaced that Smith – who was taken 39th overall by the Jets – had not only dropped his representatives because he expected to be a Top 10 pick, but that he was perceived as a diva and a spoiled brat for texting and reading Twitter during his pre-draft visits.
Smith has since denied those anonymous accusations and said Friday that he’s never been one to pay attention to the media.
“I never have and probably never will,” said the former West Virginia QB. “I understand it comes with the territory.”
Smith said he is neither disappointed nor resentful of the negative criticisms made. Though it’s assumed those comments were made by people who were, at one time, close to him, the QB seems to think differently. “I don’t think anyone who’s worked me or known me in the past has anything to negative say,” Smith said. “From what I’ve seen, my coaches and teammates have all had great things to say about me. But I’m not focused on that.
“I’m focused on what I have here with the Jets and just proving myself to my teammates here. Just focusing on bettering myself daily and trying to master this offense, and be one of the guys.”
And finding a new agent isn’t “a priority” right now, he added. On Thursday, ProFootballTalk.com reported Roc Nation, Jay-Z’s sports agency, was one of five firms pitching Smith. But Smith wouldn’t confirm or deny the rapper’s interest in representing him and would only say that he’s “met with a couple guys.”
Smith said, however, that the negative publicity hasn’t soured his expectations for his future in New York. In fact, he still thinks it’ll be “a great” experience.
“I’m going to be here and I’m going to try to make the best of it,” said Smith, who will compete with Mark Sanchez, David Garrard, Greg McElroy and Matt Simms for the starting job. “I have a job to do as of right now, and that’s to come in and compete. Right now, there’s a long ways to go in that process. This is only step one, day one, but it was fun to get out here on the practice field and enjoy my teammates and coaches, learn from coach [David] Lee, learn from coach [Marty] Mornhinweg and just be a Jet.”