There are many haters who dump on the great state of New Jersey, but one of the perks of living here is the chance to witness NFL players out and about around us mere mortals. And guess who I saw walking out of the Short Hills Mall Cheesecake Factory this week: good ole’ New York Jets QB Geno Smith.
Takeout bag in hand, Smith was strutting out of the restaurant like a man ready to get to work. Yes, he has a vicious showdown with Michael Vick in the weeks to come. Yes, he has to face the critics, naysayers and media hounds. Yes, he has to deal with the pressure of avoiding the dreaded “sophomore slump” this coming season. But he looks ready, he looks fit and, most importantly, he looks confident. A lack of confidence slayed the Jets’ last young QB, Mark Sanchez, and the team doesn’t want that to happen to Smith.
Obviously starstruck, I creepily rolled down my car window and yelled “Geno!” In the back of my head I expected this man walking in front of my car to be a mirage or phony lookalike. So when he actually turned around with a questionable look on his face, I was at a loss for words. “I’m a big fan” was all I could muster, in a weak and faltering voice. Like a gentleman, (and a carb-hungry one at that), he nodded and proceeded to his limited edition white Range Rover at the other side of the parking lot.
I should have asked something more substantial, like “Have you been talking with your new receivers?”, “How much muscle have you gained over the offseason”, “What’s your favorite cheesecake flavor?”, but my lame comment was all the escaped my lips.
But this lucky QB sighting spells positive news for Jets fans. Geno’s looking and feeling good, and the AFC East better be ready.