Geno Smith’s NFL career timeline, from Jets draft pick to sucker punch to Seahawks backup



Welcome back, Eugene Cyril Smith III.

Geno Smith is, finally, getting another chance to start for an NFL franchise, this time filling on the Seahawks for an injured Russell Wilson. If his redebut vs. the Rams was any indicator, then hop aboard, ’cause it’s gonna be a fun ride.

The Seahawks lost their matchup vs. the division rivals 26-17, but Smith played well in relief, throwing a touchdown and energizing the “12th Man” in seattle.

In all, the West Virginia passer has had a less-than successful career, but has settled in nicely with the Seahawks after wandering a few seasons with the Giants and Chargers. Now, the veteran QB has an opportunity to flip the NFL world on its head if he can refind some of that mojo he had in Week 5 — and from earlier in his career.

Here’s everything you need to know about “The 7God’s” surprisingly lengthy NFL career.

Geno Smith career timeline

April 26, 2013: Geno Smith is the second quarterback off the board in the 2013 NFL Draft, going to the New York Jets with the No. 39 overall pick. The selection signals the eventual end of the Mark Sanchez era, which resulted in back-to-back AFC championship game appearances in 2009 and 2010.

Sept. 9, 2013: Smith gets his first career start while Sanchez rehabs a shoulder injury he sustained during the preseason. Sanchez would later undergo surgery and miss the entire 2013 season, ending his career with the Jets. 

In the start, Smith throws a touchdown to Kellen Winslow and an interception, and a Nick Folk kick with time expiring gives the Jets the victory — and Smith the first win of his career. It also gave the NFL world this iconic moment, now in Gif form:

Oct. 20, 2013: G-G-G-Geno and the Jets do the unthinkable: The rookie QB leads the Jets to beat the Patriots in overtime, joining just Mark Sanchez, Colt McCoy and Ben Roethlisberger as rookie QBs to beat Bill Belichick. It’s just over a week until Halloween. Spooky things are happening.

Oct. 5, 2014: Geno’s up-and-down results with the Jets are largely a result of mediocre supporting casts and a lame duck head coach, but the Jets reach a low point in the era, getting blown out by the Chargers 31-0.

The latest twist in the Geno drama: Prior to the game, Smith misses a team meeting thanks to the change in time zones, confusing the quarterback. Talk about poor clock management.

Aug. 11, 2015: After a pair of middling seasons as starter, the beginning of the end of the Geno-Jets era starts with a punch: Defensive back IK Enemkpali punches Smith square in the jaw, breaking it, sidelining Smith for 6-10 weeks. In his stead, Ryan Fitzpatrick starts and proceeds to have the most prolific passing season in Jets history. 

The altercation is believed to happen over a $600 plane ticket, which Enemkpali felt Smith owed him money for to attend a football camp. Smith had not attended due to the death of a close personal friend. 

Oct. 23, 2016: In his last appearance for the Jets, Smith is named starter after poor performances by Ryan Fitzpatrick. The Jets would beat the Ravens 24-16 in the Week 7 appearance, partly in thanks to a Smith touchdown pass. 

Unfortunately for Smith, he would leave the game after suffering a knee injury, which turned out to be a torn ACL. He would miss the remainder of the season, abruptly ending his mercurial Jets tenure.

March 28, 2017: Smith wasn’t done taking bites out of the Big Apple just yet, as he makes a crosstown move to the Giants, signing on with Big Blue to fill out their QB room. He competes with third-round pick Davis Webb for snaps, eventually being named QB2 behind Eli Manning.

Dec. 12, 2017: Amidst organizational drama surrounding a struggling Eli Manning, head coach Ben McAdoo names Smith the starter for the Week 13 vs. the Raiders. Smith starting snaps Manning’s 210-game streak as a starter.

The start is historic, in a way: With Smith getting the call as QB1, the Giants are the final remaining NFL team to start a Black quarterback. 

Smith finished the game with 212 yards and a touchdown, but the Giants would fall to the Raiders 24-17. He had two first-half fumbles that doomed the Giants. It would be his last appearance for New York, both the team and the city.

April 1, 2018: Go west, young man: Smith ditches the East Coast and heads west, signing with the Chargers to back up Philip Rivers. He would appear in five games with the Chargers in a relief capacity during the season.

May 15, 2019: Smith signs with the Seahawks, earning the backup job to Russell Wilson. It’s a one-year deal. He would sign with the Seahawks again in 2020, and again in 2021.

Dec. 13, 2020: The long-awaited Geno Smith revenge game: After not appearing in a game in over a year, Smith takes snaps in relief of Wilson. The Seahawks absolutely trounce the Adam Gase Jets 40-3, with Smith completing 4-of-5 passes for 33 yards in the victory.

Oct. 10, 2021: Smith gets another opportunity with the Seahawks, this time, for longer than just a series. With Wilson exiting the game with a finger injury, Smith electrifies the offense, throwing a touchdown against the vaunted Rams defense. He also throws a game-ending INT, but his receiver fell on his route. The full Geno Smith Experience.

Oct. 17, 2021: For the first time in four years, Smith gets an opportunity to start for an NFL franchise, facing the Steelers in on “Sunday Night Football.” What a time to be alive.


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