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Jets GM John Idzik tells Geno Smith to 'act like a Jet,' and QB gets the message

New Jets GM John Idzik talks to the

New Jets GM John Idzik talks to the media during a press conference introducing him. (Jan. 24, 2013) Credit: Patrick E. McCarthy

"Playing like a Jet" means acting like one, too.

Jets general manager John Idzik said he's driven home that message with Geno Smith recently, but he said he has no concerns about the quarterback's judgment.

"We've talked a lot about, when you're in the NFL, when you're a quarterback in the NFL and when you're a quarterback in an NFL franchise with a big market, such as New York, all eyes are on you 24/7," Idzik said Saturday afternoon during the team's Jets House event in midtown.

"And I think Geno is experiencing this firsthand. So obviously, I've kept in close contact with him and I think this is part of learning how to deal with those things. We've addressed them, he's addressed them, so no real concerns that way. It's just how to deal with your celebrity, the visibility that comes along with that position."

In late January, Smith made news when he deplaned a Virgin America flight after a verbal exchange with a flight attendant. There were conflicting reports that Smith was escorted off the plane by police, but the airline issued an apology six days after the quarterback left a Fort Lauderdale-bound flight at Los Angeles' LAX airport.

Smith, who spoke to reporters before Idzik did Saturday, said he had no regrets about the incident.

"You're a quarterback in the NFL, so that's enough," he said. "I understand what my job entails, I understand what comes with it. No big deal. So I just have to continue to do the things that got me here, which is be myself. I'm not a troublemaker, I'm not a bad person, I don't do things to get in trouble."

But he did acknowledge that coach Rex Ryan talked to him about the pitfalls of being in the public eye.

"Rex, he basically explained that he and I, the position that we're in as head coach and quarterback, are looked at differently," said Smith, who started all 16 games as a rookie in 2013. "I understand that and I knew that prior to his conversation, but it's always good to get more light from him. And he was understanding, so it's all good."

Idzik believes that message has sunken in for Smith.

"I think sometimes you can describe things, but until you experience them, they start to hold a little more weight," Idzik said.

Asked if Smith, 23, is given a "free pass" considering his age and NFL inexperience, Idzik said no.

"We hold our players to a high standard, on and off the field," he said.

"That's a part of acting like a Jet. It's not only playing like a Jet but it's also acting like a Jet. Everyone understands that."


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