That essentially was Joe Namath’s response in the wake of the news that Geno Smith is out for the season with a knee injury.
“My bad Geno,” the Jets’ Hall of Fame quarterback tweeted to Smith on Tuesday, a day after the Jets confirmed the 26-year-old quarterback is done for the season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee. “In the dark ages we players had the say. I hope you heal and play as long as you choose! Joe.”
The mea culpa came after Namath, 73, questioned the severity of the injury after Smith was hurt in the second quarter of the Jets’ 24-16 win over the Ravens on Sunday. Smith was tended to on the sideline by team doctors and taken to the locker room. He returned after halftime wearing street clothes and watched the rest of the game from the Jets’ sideline.
“If you’ve got a right knee injury keeping you out of the game why are you standing on the sideline the entire 2nd half? How bad can it be?” Namath tweeted during the game, unaware that Smith had suffered a significant injury.
Smith also seemed unaware of the extent of the damage. In his postgame interview, Smith said he felt fine but still needed to undergo further tests to be sure.
Hours later, he tweeted this response to Namath’s critique: “Somebody tell Joe that the doctors have the final say on whether you can or cannot get back into the game . . . and also that I love him!”
An MRI on Monday revealed the damage.
For the second straight season, Smith lost the starting job in stunning fashion — and each time, Ryan Fitzpatrick has replaced him. On Aug. 11, 2015, Smith’s jaw was broken in a locker room altercation with IK Enemkpali. With Smith sidelined for more than a month, Fitzpatrick was promoted. Then on Sunday, in his first start in place of the underperforming Fitzpatrick, Smith was injured while trying to escape a sack.
His season and likely his Jets career are over. But Smith has expressed nothing but positive thoughts publicly. “They say that the darkest hour is right before dawn,” he tweeted Tuesday morning, before Namath issued his apology. “This is only the beginning and the future is so bright.”
Even before the injury, it seemed unlikely that Smith, a pending free agent, would return to the Jets next season with recent draft picks Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg on the roster. Now his future with the Jets appears cemented.
“Thank you to all the fans, my family and friends for all the well wishes,” wrote Smith, who was scheduled to get a second opinion Tuesday from noted orthopedic surgeon James Andrews. “I’ll be back stronger, faster and smarter in no time. #Godspeed”