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Saturday, February 1, 2014
Updated: February 2, 10:20 AM ET
Jets' brass talks to Geno Smith

By Rich Cimini
ESPN.com

NEW YORK -- Jets quarterback Geno Smith, involved in two unflattering, off-the-field incidents this offseason, was addressed recently by general manager John Idzik and coach Rex Ryan on the importance of managing his celebrity.

Idzik, speaking to reporters Saturday at a Jets-related promotional event at Super Bowl XLVIII, said he has no concerns about Smith's judgment. But he also made it clear they won't tolerate behavior that embarrasses the franchise -- even if the player is relatively new on the scene.

"No, I don't view any free passes," Idzik said. "We hold our players to a high standard -- on the field and off the field. That's part of acting like a Jet. It's not only playing like a Jet, it's acting like a Jet. Everyone understands that."

Smith, who started every game in his rookie season, was recently involved in an altercation with a flight attendant at Los Angeles International Airport. There were reports that Smith was thrown off the plane before takeoff because he refused to shut off his cell phone, but the airline -- Virgin America -- later issued a statement, apologizing to Smith for "a misunderstanding that regrettably escalated unnecessarily."

Previously, an Atlanta woman, claiming she had an affair with Smith, posted a lewd photo on Instagram that she alleged to be of the quarterback.

Geno Smith
Geno Smith was addressed recently by GM John Idzik and coach Rex Ryan on the importance of managing his celebrity.

"When you're a quarterback in the NFL and you're a quarterback for a franchise in a big market such as New York, all eyes are on you 24/7," Idzik said. "I think Geno is experiencing this first-hand. Obviously, I've kept in close contact with him. This is part of learning how to deal with these things.

"We've addressed them, he's addressed them, so [I have] no real concerns that way. It's just how to deal with your celebrity and the visibility that goes along with that position."

Smith, addressing reporters at the same team event, refused to answer questions about the airplane fracas. He issued a joint statement with Virgin America, basically accepting its apology.

Smith acknowledged that he spoke to Ryan about the potential pitfalls of life in the limelight.

"Rex basically explained that he and I, because of the position we're in -- head coach and quarterback -- we're looked at differently," Smith said. "I understand and I knew that prior to the conversation, but it's always good to get more light from him. He was understanding, so it was all good."

Smith said he realizes he's under intense scrutiny, adding that he's not concerned about staying out of embarrassing situations.

"It's not a big deal," he said. "I just have to continue to do things that got me here, which is be myself. I'm not a trouble maker, I'm not a bad person and I don't do things that get me in trouble."

Smith, a second-round pick, endured a roller-coaster season. He finished with 21 interceptions, the fourth-highest total in the league, almost losing his job during a midseason slump.

He played well in the final month, helping the Jets to a surprising 8-8 record. Despite his late-season rally, Smith hasn't received a commitment from Ryan, who has declined to name him his starter going into training camp.

Quarterback Mark Sanchez, who missed the entire season due to surgery on his right shoulder, also is recovering from arthroscopic knee surgery, according to a league source.

The surgery was described as a "clean up," and is not expected to affect his availability for the offseason.

Idzik said the team is monitoring Sanchez's shoulder and knee rehabs. He declined to speculate on Sanchez's future with the team, saying, "We'll let it play out."

Sanchez, who has a $13.1 million cap charge, is due a $2 million roster bonus in late March. The Jets are expected to part ways with their former starter.