“I would much rather pass up on some of that guaranteed money … and bet on myself and just see what happens,” he said.
On Thursday, Fitzpatrick was back on the field with teammates. Reporters noted during practice that Fitzpatrick got the majority of first-team reps, but shared part of the duty with Smith.
Bowles brushed aside the idea that Smith’s roster spot is in jeopardy. The coach added that Smith is entrenched as the backup. With rookie Christian Hackenberg in house, second-year player Bryce Petty could be the odd man out, barring injury or New York electing to keep four quarterbacks.
“Geno’s here at No. 2 right now unless Bryce and Hack have some great gain, if they come along like gangbusters,” Bowles said. “No. 2 right now, it’s open. If Fitz has some setbacks … something else. Geno’s one, I mean Fitz is one, Geno’s two, Bryce is three, Hack is four.”
With Fitzpatrick’s return, the Jets hope a prolific passing offense with Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker continues to flourish in Year 2 under Chan Gailey. Now Fitzpatrick must prove he was worth the offseason consternation for Jets fans and the $12 million price tag paid to a career journeyman.
“I have something to prove every year,” Fitzpatrick said.
Geno Smith, a loyal employee of the New York Jets tired of watching the club desperately hire out for the promotion he’s always wanted on a permanent basis, is going to start looking around for new places to work.
“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.