Axing agents good audible by Geno

Geno Smith (Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports)
Geno Smith fell to Day 2 of NFL Draft, to New York Jets.
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Jen Floyd Engel

Jen Floyd Engel, selected as the top columnist in the 2012 Associated Press Sports Editors annual contest, started working at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram in 1997 and became a columnist in 2003 before joining Sports opinions? She's never short of them. And love her or hate her, she'll be just another one of the boys. Follow her on Twitter or like her on Facebook.


The dog pile on Geno Smith is growing, and circling back.


From Heisman favorite to texting addict, the Jets' rookie has ridden quite a wave. Let's trace his recent history.

It started with Pro Football Weekly’s Nolan Nawrocki and his scathing scouting takedown, which identified Smith as an uncommitted, unfocused love child of Akili Smith and Aaron Brooks. This was followed by Smith freefalling into Day 2 of the draft and the New York Jets. Then he fired his agents, and his agents fired back in a cranky release.

Now a few anonymous NFL execs have jumped on this pile, with tales of Smith's idiocy. And this has led a few to conclude that race-baiting Nawrocki had a point.

So, all in all, this has been a pretty crappy run for Smith which seems crazy to me. He finally is making good decisions — starting with firing his agents.

Say for a second that every single anonymous tale of Smith texting and reading Twitter while visiting NFL teams pre-draft is true. Say he does not get it. Say the anonymous execs in this Yahoo column by Jason Cole nailed him word for word with:

“His biggest problem is that he doesn’t know what he doesn’t know,” said a league executive, who spent extensive time assessing Smith before the draft. “I’m not sure he knows how to take instruction because he pretty much wouldn’t listen or talk to our coaches … he’s talented. He can sling it, he can fit it into tight spots, he can do a lot of things and I think he wants to be good. But you can’t tell him anything right now. He’s tuned out because he thinks he’s got it all down.”

This is why players pay agents, why they give non-players 3 to 4 percent of their money. It is not only to negotiate the contract. It is to tell them the truth. It is to say, “You don’t know what you don’t know.” It is to say, “You might not go first, you might not go in the first round, so, maybe let’s think about watching this draft anywhere except the green room at Radio City.”

Maybe firing his agents, instead of proof of his idiocy, actually points to growth in Smith. He should be able to fire his agents for whatever reasons he wants. And if anybody looks childish in this, it is his ex-agents Erik Burkhardt and Jeff Nalley and their “statement” about getting dumped. Who does that? No, really, who releases this?

“We worked tirelessly for Geno Smith and all of our draft prospects,” they said in a release to Pro Football Talk. “The NFL Draft is unpredictable, and we prepared Geno and all of our draft prospects, as we do every year, about what can happen during the draft. Not only did we tell him that what transpired on the first day of the draft was possible, the question of whether Geno would be first- or second-round pick was arguably the most talked about subject in the three months leading up to the draft. We wish Geno the best.”

This is BS. If they really wished him the best, they would have quietly parted away. Nor is this proof of idiocy, this firing of agents. This actually seems like a guy taking responsibility for his role, whatever it was, in freefalling on draft day. Smith seems to be becoming well aware of what he does not know and is looking to surround himself with people willing to tell him.

This is not idiocy. This is actually smart. And it is time for the dog pile to break up.

Tagged: Jets, Akili Smith

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