After receiving criticism about his possible status as a “bust,” New York Jets rookie wide receiver Devin Smith unleashes his own words.
By Robby Sabo
From a media’s perspective, it doesn’t get better when an athlete goes rogue during an interview.
Instead of the same old classic, repetitive cliche responses (see Bill Belichick for a “how to”), when the athlete provides a fresh response it allows reporters to become excited in a tizzy. This is the case whether it’s positive, or (especially) negative.
Thanks to his extremely subpar numbers through the early portion of his young NFL career, Smith is already starting to be compared to Jets and wide receiver busts of the past.
On Monday, the mere mention of the word “bust” had Smith crossing the border of defense mode into the territory of attack position, via Seth Walder of the New York Daily News.
“Yeah, to be honest, the people who say that, they don’t got s— going on themselves,” Smith said. “Doesn’t matter to me. They don’t know football themselves.”
It’s never a good sign to see one of your young players start to question the media’s knowledge of the game. Squaring off against the New York City media is a battling you’ll simply never win.
“Not everybody is gonna come in and be Amari Cooper,” Smith said. “Not going to come in and be Odell Beckham. It takes stepping stones for some people. And that’s how I’m kind of approaching it.
“I’m not getting too worried about what everybody has to say on the outside, because, at the end of the day, that really doesn’t matter to me,” Smith said.
His words, thankfully, weren’t all terrible.
“A lot of people don’t really realize the situation that I came into. I came in with a 10-year vet, and Deck is what, six, seven years already,” Smith said. “We’ve got a few guys that’s been here two, three years.
“I’m not saying I’m going to hold back or (not) challenge them, but you’ve got two top receivers that’s been in the game for awhile, you should expect not to get the ball as much.”
“For me, I’m just going to learn from those guys so whenever my time is up to be the permanent starter and get more touches, I’m ready.”
Obviously, frustration got the better of the kid on this occasion. At the same time, there’s never an excuse to battle the media. With bust Stephen Hill – 2nd round pick of the Jets out of Georgia Tech in 2012 – still fresh in mind, Smith will hear a lot more than he’s currently been challenged with thus far.
In any event, there’s no getting around his lackluster start. Through six games at the ultimate level, Smith has been targeted just 18 times hauling in seven receptions for 82 yards.
He was also unfortunately front-and-center after last Thursday’s loss to old friend Rex Ryan and the Buffalo Bills after he fumbled a kick return that resulted in a Bills gimme touchdown.
This is why professional athletes make the big bucks. They’re playing at the highest level in front of the most pressurized media situation of all-time (thanks in large part to technology and the advent of social media).
They make these dollars not only for their talents, but to be every bit as savvy as the next professional when speaking with the media.
Smith is a young, smart kid. He’s a champion. He understands this.
The best (and only) thing he can do is contribute to the Jets in a positive manner moving forward.
Don’t fight; just play.
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