When it comes to New York Jets rookie quarterback Geno Smith, we hear a lot of negative hearsay about him, but not a lot from the quarterback himself. But don’t be misled. Geno Smith is listening and learning.
At the annual NFL Rookie Symposium this month, the 22-year-old Smith was all ears when it came to the cautionary tales about what goes into being a pro football player, and the good and the bad that goes along with it.
Among the guest speakers at the annual rookie event was Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Adam Jones, the player formerly know as “Pacman” who saw multiple off-the-field transgressions nearly derail his NFL career.
A former high first-round pick, Jones spoke candidly to the 2013 rookies about how he’s lucky to still be in the league after bouts with immaturity and trouble with the law caused him to be suspended by the league in the past.
Smith and Jones knew each other prior to the symposium, as both attended West Virginia University.
“He’s a West Virginia guy, I’ve had many conversations with him,” Smith said. “He’s always preached, ‘don’t make the same mistakes.’ He’s made a lot of mistakes, but he’s still standing strong and working hard.”
“He’s using his past trials and tribulations to help us as rookies. You can see how those decisions will affect him,” Smith said. ”It will affect all of us if we follow down that same path. He’s a guy who had a tremendous amount of talent and high expectations, but he let some bad decisions affect him on and off the field.”
To his credit, Geno Smith does not have a checkered past, nor does he have a history of making bad decisions off the field. He’s gotten a heavy amount of criticism from many people who don’t know a thing about him.
A few weeks ago at the Jets’ mini-camp, Smith spoke about the things he’s done and continues to do in order to make sure he reaches his full potential, including texting with Peyton Manning about developing routines.
“They’re sticklers for what they do,” Smith said. “Peyton and Archie [Manning], all those guys told me to stick to that daily routine.”
During mini-camp, Smith’s routine involved waking up at 5:30 am every morning, arriving at the team facility at 6:15 am and studying on his own while he eats breakfast in the team cafeteria before morning meetings.
When he’s working with his coaches, Smith makes sure he takes detailed notes, documenting as much as he can. He and his rookie teammates quiz each other on the playbook. And he always sticks to his daily routine.
“Eventually, it will all become second nature. It’s part of being a professional. I want to be a great quarterback.”
Geno Smith is well aware of the hard work and attention to detail that goes into being successful in the NFL. For all of his perceived flaws, his head is in the right place. All he’s focused on is getting better every day.
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