Most people were shocked. Some people were angry. But there was at least one guy who had a different feeling about yesterday’s stunning news that the Giants were benching quarterback Eli Manning.
That would be Geno Smith, the guy with the unenviable task of replacing the two-time Super Bowl champion.
While being careful to not appear too happy about a seismic move in the franchise’s history, Smith expressed a hope he could make the best of it.
“I’m always excited for an opportunity to play, but there’s no major reaction — didn’t throw a party or anything,” Smith said, via John Healy of the New York Daily News. “Great opportunity to go out there. I’ve had a year to get healthy, learn the system, learn the guys, so it’s a good opportunity and I’m looking forward to it.”
Smith understands there’s a fine line to walk, that as much as he’s happy about a chance to play, it’s coming at an incredible expense for his team. He said he got the news yesterday from coach Ben McAdoo.
“I understand things happen in this business and you just got to be ready for whatever happens and I’ve been working hard,” Smith said. “I’ve been working behind the scenes, doing all the little things, so I expect them to pay off.”
It’s his first action since tearing his ACL last October with the Jets, and returns to Oakland, where he played his last full game in 2015.
“Take a look, it was a good one,” he said. That was a 27-of-42 day which included 265 yards and two touchdowns, with one interception in a 34-20 loss.
And while it was an awkward day, Smith said he felt supported.
“Guys were kind of fired up,” Smith said. “Guys are giving me hugs, handshakes and I think guys have witnessed my story from afar just seeing how things have kind of played out. So, I think they’re looking forward to that part of it. . . .
“They’ve seen me get better throughout the year and I think they’re really eager to get to work during the week and try and go out there and get a victory.”
That’s far from the point of this move, and Smith has to know that, but he has to make the most of this unexpected chance for himself to try to resurrect a career.