"It's no disrespect to anyone, but I'm auditioning for this team and 31 other teams in the NFL," Smith said Thursday, via ESPN.com. "The way you handle all of this says a lot about your character. I've got little kids back home (in South Florida) seeing how I react. Everyone will watch to see how I react. I'm not going to allow this situation -- because it's not the worst situation I've been in -- to deter me from my ultimate goal."
Smith, who is just 26 and has only 29 starts under his belt, has handled this entire year-long fiasco relatively well all things considered. He probably needed a change of scenery the minute he slid to the Jets in the 2013 NFL Draft amid rumors of an aloof and disrespectful disposition, but finished his first year as a starter 8-8 anyway before then-general manager John Idzik systematically dismantled the team.
So here we are, a year after the team hired a coordinator who would work well with Smith's skill set but Smith couldn't play because he was cold-cocked by a sixth-round pick named IK Enemkpali for a $600 debt. Smith worked all offseason as the presumptive starter while coach Todd Bowles essentially reserved a spot for Ryan Fitzpatrick. Smith rolls into training camp second on a four-man depth chart that includes Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg -- a pair of young draft prospects.
To say Smith is pissed is probably the understatement of the century, but he's handling it well. He deserves a chance to see what life is like somewhere else and no one should be surprised that he feels this way.
Now, we wait to see just how long of an audition this really is. Clearly, the Jets hope to have a long-term solution at quarterback next year. Smith presumably will drift into free agency. Until then, are the Jets really willing to carry four quarterbacks? Or will Smith's crisis management skills earn him a ticket out of town before the season starts?
"I'm not disappointed. I'm kind of pissed off, but it's not a detrimental thing," he said. "It's not something where I'm pissed off at anyone, because we all want to be in there. ... This just adds fuel to the fire, but not in a negative way."