Ever since the New York Jets announced their intention to draft West Virginia-product Geno Smith last Friday night, I’m not sure that any of us have heard one positive word spoken about the whole situation.
Be it the wealth — or lack thereof if we’re speaking from a talent perspective — of quarterbacks already on the Jets roster, or the way Smith flip-flopped his decision about actually being in attendance on Friday night, the whole deal has simply been a mess.
As recently as the past two days, more has come to light about the attitude of the rookie — mainly about how he handled himself in front of NFL team executives during his visits. Described as mainly keeping to himself, Smith simply seemed disinterested, as crazy as that may seem to us “common folk” who will never see an NFL snap.
To basically paraphrase what many league sources have stated to several news outlets, Smith more-or-less acted like a know-it-all. Given his intense hype leading up to the draft, he seemed entitled, so to speak.
But, is Smith himself really the problem?
Among some of the information that was divulged by these sources, one tidbit specifically caught my attention. One of the league sources speaking to Yahoo! Sports proclaimed, “Right now, he’s blaming everybody but himself and he has some buddies around him who are telling him the same thing.”
To me, the key word in that statement was ‘buddies.’
Believe me, coming from a small town here in Pennsylvania, I understand that it’s hard to let go of people you’ve had in your life for basically its entirety. Friends are there to pick you up when you’re down and they’re there to boost your confidence when you need it.
This is a good thing for someone like me. For someone such as Smith who is being asked to be lead an NFL franchise in the biggest media market in the world? It’s not really the best case in all instances.
At this stage of Smith’s career, basically everything that he has done up to this point means nothing. His friends can tell him until their faces turn blue that he is God’s gift to football, but Geno has to realize that he’s not. He’s an unproven commodity, and he will remain as such until he proves otherwise — just like everyone else who was picked throughout this past weekend.
What alarms me the most about this revelation is that fact that Geno Smith may not be his own person. Any good parent, at some point, tells their child as they’re growing up to be a leader, not a follower. If the statements by the league exec sources are indeed true, Geno is more than willing to play along with whatever his ‘boys’ say.
So, I obviously have to ask, if Smith can’t take control his own life, how in the good Lord’s name can anyone expect him to lead a football team?
There’s not a question that Geno Smith is a talented individual. He has all of the tools to be a successful professional football player, anyone can see that.
If the ‘buddies’ and their impression on Smith are the problem, I would suggest to Geno that he either lay that law down and let them know their place right now, while there’s still time for him to build a productive career for himself. If they can’t abide by that, then it’s time to tell them to go find their own lives.
Adding to his chances of having that productive career may have to come down to subtracting some people from his life.