Jets quarterback Geno Smith doesn’t currently have an agent to push to the media a better narrative than the one that has emerged since the draft began.
So Smith is doing it himself.
Smith addressed some recent criticisms during a Monday interview with Jim Corbett of USA Today. And while the 39th pick in the draft declared that “I don’t worry about what people say — my skin is pretty thick,” Smith disputed a recent report from Jason Cole of Yahoo! Sports that Smith focused excessively on his smartphone during team visits.
“That’s not true,” Smith said. “I got strong remarks from all the teams I visited with. . . . I couldn’t care less what’s coming out in the media because I know what’s true.”
It’s a delicate balance. On one hand, he says he doesn’t care. On the other hand, he cares enough to dispute it.
Smith again explained that he didn’t fire his former agents in the days after the draft because he slid out of the first round.
“Parts of the draft experience were tough, but not all of it,” Smith said. “With that entire process, you can see where some things went wrong. . . . Choosing to leave those guys was the best decision for me at the time. That’s what I went with. I think I’m pretty good with my decision making. So I trust myself.”
The problem is that, regardless of the reasons, the timing suggests that Smith blamed the agents for his eventual draft position. It arguably would have been better to lay low until late June before making the change, instead of doing it when the draft experience was fresh in everyone’s mind.
Smith also took issue, 11 days after the fact, with a report from ESPN’s Suzy Kolber that the former West Virginia quarterback planned to leave New York after the first night of the draft.
“Coming back on Day 2 was never not an option for me,” Smith said. “My goal was to go up on that stage and shake Mr. Goodell’s hand. And that’s what we did.”
It’s too late to set that part of the record straight. The perception that Smith didn’t handle the situation properly hardened hours before he shook Goodell’s hand. The first order of business for his new agent should be to accept the existing perception and work to change it not in one fell swoop but over a period of months.
The best way to do that will be for Smith to play well and, when things inevitably don’t go well, to handle it calmly.
For more on Smith and other Jets-related issues, here’s Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News from Monday’s PFT Live.This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!