Geno Smith has been named as the Seattle Seahawks starting quarterback for Monday’s highly-anticipated season-opener against a returning Russell Wilson and his Denver Broncos. It was a hard-fought achievement for Smith, who now looks to take over the helm as Wilson’s successor following a high-profile QB1 battle against teammate Drew Lock.
The race is not over, though. Smith gets to start Week 1, but at this point, Seattle head coach Pete Carroll has revealed that Smith still isn’t a lock to be the team’s QB1 the rest of the way. He will have a lot to prove in Week 1 (and beyond) if he hopes to keep Lock off the starting lineup. At this point, Smith admitted that he’s very much looking forward to starting the first game of the season (via Mike Florio of PFT):
“I’m extremely excited,” Smith told reporters on Friday. “I really can’t wait. I’m extremely excited for the opportunity, but mainly just for all the guys. For all of us to be out there together and to get our season started. It’s extremely exciting. I know everyone here is excited and personally, for me, I don’t feel any type of vindication or anything like that. It’s more so just preparing and doing the same thing I’ve always done. [I’m] not making it more than what it is.”
As if the narrative could not be more dramatic, Smith and the Seahawks get to host Wilson in his first game back after a rather controversial summer exit. For his part, however, Geno Smith had nothing but great things to say about his former teammate:
“My time here with Russ was awesome,” Smith said. “I really got to know him a lot. I got to know his family. He got to know mine. And one thing I would say I took from him is just his professionalism, the way he approached every single day, his competitive fire. You know just the type of person he is on and off the field. I mean there is a lot of outstanding things you can say about him. I really appreciated the time we spent together competing. We competed a bunch. You know whether it was in the classroom, weightroom, on the field, and I think that made me better. And so just being around him and knowing the type of guy he is, the way he prepares, I learned a lot from that.”
Russell clearly left quite an impression on Smith, and as the latter admitted, he is more than thankful for the opportunity he had to be teammates with Wilson. At this point, though, Smith is all business as he looks to lead his team to a statement win against Wilson and the Broncos:
“You can’t block that out, that would be a little naive to say that,” Smith said of Wilson’s looming return. “I do understand everything that is going on around us. Russell was the man here for a while and I know there will be emotions on both sides, but I’m not caught up in that. I’m just focused on taking care of business.”