His name wasn’t called. It happened last night. It’s happened in countless drafts.
He thought about returning home for the draft’s second round, rather than staying in New York — a decision which was unnecessarily characterized by some as Smith confirming to critics that he “can’t show grit and resolve under pressure.”
Because when his team’s down and the game’s on the line, coaches will be thinking about that time Smith went home for the draft’s second round.
It’s a stretch.
Judge Smith for his play
Thankfully, voices like ESPN analyst Bill Polian add perspective:
“What does sitting in a green room have to do with playing quarterback in the National Football League?” Polian asked on ESPN Radio’s ‘Mike & Mike’ program Friday.
We’re still wondering, Bill.
NFL.com’s Gregg Rosenthal offered this up on Twitter concerning Smith’s ‘travel plans’:
Applauding Geno for staying in NY is almost as ridiculous as criticizing decision to leave.
— Gregg Rosenthal (@greggrosenthal) April 26, 2013
There was only one quarterback selected on Thursday — E.J. Manuel at No. 16 to Buffalo.
Smith’s snub came as a surprise to several NFL analysts and prognosticators. Sports Illustrated’s Peter King had Smith going to Cleveland at No. 11; CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora had Smith going to Oakland at No. 3; ESPN’s Todd McShay had Smith as a projected No. 6 pick to Cleveland.
Thursday’s draft broadcasts were filled with images of a seemingly dejected Smith — his head down.
A human being.
Advice from the greats
Sometimes, players don’t attend the star-studded event in New York City, preferring to stay at home with friends and family. Sometimes, players opt to be elsewhere — like Cleveland Browns All-Pro Joe Thomas, who was fishing on Lake Michigan while his name was called in 2007.
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers can relate, to a degree. The Super Bowl champ and 2011 MVP fell to the Packers at No. 24 back in 2005. Rodgers tweeted his support to Smith late Thursday:
Hang in there Geno, "good things come to those who wait" -Paul Tagliabue
— Aaron Rodgers (@AaronRodgers12) April 26, 2013
Green Bay won a Super Bowl two years later.
TheGrio: Is there a ‘black tax’ in the NFL?
Seattle’s Russell Wilson was drafted in the third round of last year’s draft. He earned the starting nod in training camp and guided the Seahawks within two points of a NFC Championship Game birth.
Geno will get his opportunity — and what he does with it is what he should be judged for.
Follow theGrio’s Todd Johnson on Twitter @rantoddj