After weeks of speculation, Geno Smith finally has new representation.
In an expected move, the Jets rookie quarterback said Wednesday that he’ll now be repped by Jay-Z's sports management firm, Roc Nation.
Though Smith said recently that he was in no rush to make a decision, the Instragram photo he posted of himself with the multi-platinum rapper/entrepreneur last week made it seem the decision was all but made.
In all, five agencies were vying to represent Smith, who fired his original team, Erik Burkhardt and Jeff Nalley of Select Sports Group, a few days after the NFL draft. Jay-Z, who is not NFLPA certified, works with CAA – but Smith confirmed that NFL agent Kimberly Miale will handle his contract.
Miale, who is based in Boston, was recently hired by Roc Nation.
A search of the NFLPA’s web site produced no information for Miale under the “active contracts negotiated” field. But when told by a reporter that Miale doesn’t have much experience, Smith said he was “not at all” worried. (But as my Twitter bud, Jason, from overthecap.com pointed out, Miale should have no problems ironing out Smith's deal because rookie contracts are pretty straightforward.)
Smith said Jay-Z did not play “that big of a role” in his decision. “I think it's just an agency," the QB said. "We talked about being in New York, from a standpoint of what they can do in this city, you know, the connections they have. I think it’s a good move. My family was comfortable with it, I was comfortable with it. So we’re just going to move on from there, it’s not going to be a big deal. Just remain humble and keep focusing on football.”
Smith, however, downplayed the importance of playing in a big-market city to help create an image. “It’s not that important to me, honestly," he said. "The only thing that’s important to me is the image that’s perceived around this locker room; the guy that I am to my teammates, to my coaches and the work that I put in on the football field. I’m all about football, I’m all about getting better. And that’s the one thing that I’m focused on: bettering myself daily and preparing myself to be there when the time comes.”
Smith added that he doesn't care about the perception that he was only interested in teaming up with a high-profile entertainment figure.
“I don’t worry about the outside world’s perception when it comes to stuff like that,” he said. “I’m comfortable with who I am, I’m strong in my faith. I know that this isn’t because of an image thing or because I’m trying to market myself. It’s just about being comfortable with the guys who are going to represent me, and that’s ultimately why I made that decision.”
Roc Nation previously inked deals with Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano and WNBA star Skylar Diggins.
Jets coach Rex Ryan said he wasn't worried about the rookie getting sidetracked after signing with Roc Nation.
"I don't worry about it," Ryan said. "I think, really, you've got to think that this is the young man's decision and I'm sure that he's done a lot of work in preparation on hiring, who he thinks will be the best person to represent him. I don't think there will be a lost of focus or anything else. I can tell you this right now, he knows he has to focus on the job at hand here, and i'm confident that'll happen. I don't even think about who he hires."