It’s been about a month since Geno Smith signed a three-year contract extension to remain with the Seattle Seahawks, adding another chapter to a remarkable career turnaround for a quarterback who hadn’t been a regular starter since 2014.
When Seattle defeated the Denver Broncos on opening night in front of a nationally televised audience, Smith uttered this unforgettable line to ESPN’s Lisa Salters.
“They wrote me off, I ain’t write back though.”
Very little was expected of Seattle and particularly of Smith last season. Well, I suppose losing a lot of games was expected, but you get the idea. Geno wrote his own story that led to a Pro Bowl selection and the NFL’s Comeback Player of the Year award. From a draft bust with the New York Jets, to a career backup in subsequent stops, to a 4,000-yard, 30-touchdown passing starting quarterback with the Seahawks.
Smith just penned a column on The Players Tribune that really is a must-read for every Seahawks fan, particularly his biggest doubters. I’m not going to just copy-and-paste the entire piece on here, but I will highlight a couple of notable things he wrote.
On being the emergency starter in Russell Wilson’s absence in 2021
When I got on the field in the Thursday Night game two years ago, that was bittersweet. You hate to see your teammate go down, especially someone like Russ who’s been a great friend to me. And we came up short in terms of getting the W, which was extremely disappointing. But after that game? I was buzzing. I can’t even describe it. It’s like I couldn’t stop thinking about how great it felt to finally play in front of the 12s. The energy was unmatched.
I was frustrated with my play that year, though, because I didn’t fully show what I was capable of. I was seeing the field well, and I knew I’d grown as a player since the last time I got a shot. But it’s like my body wasn’t doing what I wanted it to yet. So I think from the outside maybe it looked like I was the same QB as before … when really I was just shaking off rust. My teammates knew, though. Even with some mistakes I was making in those games, I could tell I had their confidence. I could tell they believed I was a guy they could win with. And that meant a lot.
On his mentality post-Russell Wilson trade, as well as his contract extension
It’s crazy to think how that phone call was only a year ago ... and now I’m signing this deal to stay in Seattle as QB1.
And I wanted to write this letter to express my gratitude — and to tell you all those same four words I told my mom: It’s about to happen. I’m so appreciative of everything that’s taken place over this past season. But this contract for me is a happy moment, not a happy ending. For me it’s the start. That’s just who I am. That’s the drive I have. You tell me I’m the backup? I’m going to prepare like I’m the franchise guy. You tell me Russ got traded, and now it’s an open competition? I’m going to be like, “Not for long.” You tell me Denver has the best D in the league? I’m going to march it down the field, first drive of Week 1, and get six. You tell me it’s a rebuild? I’m going to start thinking playoffs. You tell me I made the Pro Bowl? I’m going to try to make 10 Pro Bowls. You tell me we had a “nice” season? I’m going to follow it up with a great season. That’s just always my mentality with things — I’m always trying to get better.
And helping the Seahawks get better is where my head’s at right now.
Giving this community something to be proud of is where my focus is going to be for as long as I’m in Seattle.
His closing remarks
And that’s the energy I’m trying to take with me into next season. I really don’t know what the future holds — but I know I control my own destiny again. And I know I didn’t make it this far just to lose. I want to WIN, and I want to live up to the legacies of the great Seahawks players who paved the way here: Russ, Marshawn Lynch, Richard Sherman, Kam Chancellor, Michael Bennett, Bobby Wagner, Walter Jones, Shaun Alexander, Warren Moon, all those guys. Maybe even more than that, I want to be an example for anyone who might’ve gotten knocked down from their goals. Not even just in the NFL, but in life — anyone who might be feeling like a disappointment, or who might be getting pegged as someone who can’t achieve certain things. Maybe they can look at me and say, Geno ... he kept grinding. He kept believing in himself. And eventually he found a city that believes in him back.
Smith also has a story to tell about the agonizing wait to see if the Seahawks would make the playoffs courtesy of the Detroit Lions beating the Green Bay Packers. There’s a blurb in there about his relationship with Pete Carroll, as well as the support he’s received from his teammates and the fanbase as a whole.
Read it. You won’t be disappointed. You just might find his story downright inspirational if you haven’t already.