FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — While Ryan Fitzpatrick’s return was being celebrated throughout the building, Geno Smith was left to sort through his feelings of frustration.
“I mean, I’m not disappointed. I’m kind of [ticked] off, but it’s not a detrimental thing,” he said Thursday, less than 24 hours after Fitzpatrick reclaimed his starting job. “It’s not something where I’m [ticked] off at anyone, because we all want to be out there. There’s 52 guys on the team, every guy doesn’t always get to go out there and we all know that one quarterback’s going to go out there on Day 1.
“So that just adds fuel to the fire, but not in a negative way.”
Smith, 25, lost his starting job to Fitzpatrick on Aug. 11, 2015, after his jaw was broken by then-teammate Ikemefuna Enemkpali in a locker-room altercation. He remained the backup while the Jets went 10-6 and fell one win shy of the playoffs.
When negotiations between Fitzpatrick and the team stalled this offseason, Smith was named the presumptive starter. But his stint atop the depth chart proved to be short-lived, as Fitzpatrick and the Jets agreed to a two-year deal that will void to a one-year deal five days after the Super Bowl.
So now Smith is back to being a backup.
“I don’t want that to become a headline or something like that, because it’s not what I’m trying to say,” he said. “It’s more as a competitor, as a quarterback, knowing what I’m capable of and really believing in myself, knowing the work that I’ve put in over the offseason, you know, you want to be out there. But you just gotta kind of play the cards that you’re dealt, control what you can control and continue to get better.”