OK, it's hard to feel too bad for the guy. He did regain his job as the starting quarterback for the New York Jets this week, and that's pretty great. Unfortunately, no matter how much success he has, Smith never will escape that one time he was on the receiving end of an attack from a teammate.
You likely recall how IK Enemkpali punched Smith and broke his jaw during training camp last year — an assault that helped pave the way for Ryan Fitzpatrick to take the starting job, adding insult to injury. And chances are Jets wide receiver Brandon Marshall also recalls that occasion, which makes his word choice on Wednesday seem a bit peculiar:
Brandon Marshall talked up Geno Smith's maturity a lot. Said it's "amazing" to see him grow and "punch adversity in the face." #jets
It's amazing to watch him "punch adversity in the face." Huh.
Anyway, as for Fitzpatrick, Marshall told reporters this week that it's his fault the former Jets starter was benched. As Marshall explained it, Fitzpatrick's interception in the third quarter Monday night came about when the Jets receiver misread the defense before the snap and made an adjustment on his route. Had he executed the play as designed, perhaps Fitzpatrick still would be starting and Smith still would be on the bench.
For Smith, though, his ascension back into the starting lineup was just a matter of time. Back in August, Smith talked about the punch with the New York Post:
"I don't think about it," he said. "It was a crazy situation, a life-defining moment. It could go one of two ways — it could make you or it could break you. It hasn't broken me. It won't break me ever. A situation like that won't change my demeanor or my attitude. I know who I am. I know what I can do. I'm just trusting my instincts. I know I'll get back in there. I just have to stay focused and keep believing and working hard and when I do, I'll be ready for it."
It's good to see Smith's faith rewarded. Here's hoping he is in fact ready for Week 7.