Keep Ego in Check, 'Broadway Geno'

Article excerpt

Geno Smith

Quarterback

New York Jets

Florham Park, NJ

Broadway Geno Smith:

I hope you don't mind me referring to you by your new nickname.

Shortly after the New York Jets selected you with the No. 39 overall pick Friday, the local media anointed you Broadway Geno -- becoming the first Jets quarterback given that distinction since Broadway Joe Namath.

Be careful, Broadway Geno. Don't fall for the hype.

You've come a long way from Miramar High School in suburban Miami. Morgantown, W.Va., must seem like a million miles away to you.

I was surprised that you predicted the Jets will reach the playoffs in 2013, because success never went to your head at West Virginia. I understand you were caught up in the moment and blowing off steam after being bypassed in the first round of the draft, but the proclamation was so unlike the Geno Smith I know.

I still believe you're the same humble quarterback I met during Big 12 Conference media days last July in Dallas. You were voted preseason offensive player of the year despite never playing a game in the Big 12, yet you refused to make a big deal about the honor. In fact, you always put your team first.

You scoffed at any mention of winning the Heisman Trophy. You made it clear you were only interested in winning football games.

Don't change, Broadway Geno.

I understand the past couple of months were difficult, possibly exasperating, for someone with such high expectations.

You went from being the projected No. 1 overall pick in the draft, to having your game being scrutinized and dissected in a scathing Pro Football Weekly scouting report, to a national television audience witnessing your precipitous free-fall into the second round.

It was painful to watch, so I can only imagine how you felt. It must have been gut-wrenching.

However, your emotional response to not being selected in the first round made people wonder if you have the necessities to become a starting quarterback in the NFL. You indicated you wouldn't return for the second round, only to change your mind and show up. …