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Geno Smith: Being a backup QB is not my goal

Geno Smith will be "full-go" during training camp for whatever team picks up the free-agent quarterback this offseason.

The former second-round pick of the New York Jets told NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport in an interview Monday that he's open to being a backup and proving himself a capable starter wherever he ends up catching on.

"Of course, I'm open to (being a backup)," Smith said. "That's not my goal, I don't see myself as that. I was brought into this league, I was brought to the Jets to be a certain caliber of player.

"Being injured for two years has kind of taken that away from me. My mistakes were shown on the field the first two years, and then me getting better has kind of been behind the scenes. The next time I step onto the field, it'll be what they expect. People want to see you get better, they want to see you move past your mistakes. I've done that, just behind the scenes."

Smith's last two seasons have been derailed by injuries. In 2015, a broken jaw at the hands of a teammate allowed veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick to seize the starting job and play his way into keeping Smith out of the lineup. When Fitzpatrick proved ineffective last season, Smith got the nod to start but suffered a torn ACL in October. It was his first start since 2014.

Smith said he's in the fifth month of recovery from knee surgery for what he says is a six-to-eight month recovery process.

"This is one thing you don't want to rush," Smith said. "You want to take time with the healing process and that's what we've been doing. We're getting after it, we're working hard, we're getting better. But at the same time, we're being patient. You don't want to have any setbacks."

Despite the setbacks, Smith still believes he has what it takes to be a great quarterback. Smith is No. 90 on Around the NFL's top 101 available free agents because he "is still a 26-year-old quarterback with some quality game film to his name."

"I believe that I can be one of the best," Smith said. "I've shown that in glimpses. What I've been searching for is consistency, and I think that consistency will lead me to be that great player that I always see myself being."

At least a half-dozen quarterback depth charts are question marks this offseason, including where Smith has spent the first four years of his career. Smith told Rapoport a return to the Jets "is not out of the question."

Smith stands a good chance at catching on somewhere he has a real opportunity to become a starter sometime during the 2017 season, if not in Week 1. A lot has to go right, but Smith at least has the right mindset going into the most important period of his young career.

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