NEW YORK — Geno Smith’s second chance at starting appears to be over. His playing days with the New York Jets could be, too.
The maligned quarterback has a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee and is seeking a second opinion on the injury that would end his season.
NFL Network first reported the severity of Smith’s injury on Monday.
Smith, a second-round pick in 2013 who is scheduled to be a free agent after the season, injured his knee while taking a sack from Baltimore’s Matt Judon in the second quarter of the Jets’ 24-16 win Sunday. Smith, who got the start in favor of the benched Ryan Fitzpatrick, had an MRI on Monday.
It’s a stunning turn of events for Smith, who didn’t believe the injury was serious.
“I don’t feel like it hurts a ton,” Smith said after the game. “Honestly, I was begging to go back out there, but I understand they’re doing their jobs, so we’ll see how it goes (Monday) and move on from there.”
It’s the latest bout with bad luck for Smith, who lost his starting job to Fitzpatrick last summer when his jaw was broken by a punch from then-teammate IK Enemkpali. Until Sunday, Smith hadn’t started a game since the 2014 season finale, appearing in just two mop-up roles since.
With Fitzpatrick struggling with 11 interceptions in New York’s first six games, in which the Jets started 1-5, coach Todd Bowles went with Smith as his starter against the Ravens.
Smith had a solid start to the game, going 4 of 8 for 95 yards including a 69-yard touchdown to Quincy Enunwa. But he was hurt when he scrambled to his left and held onto the ball rather than throw it away on a third-down play, and took the sack.
He limped off the field and was checked by trainers on the sideline before being taken to the locker room. Smith spent the second half in sweats on the sideline as Fitzpatrick helped lead the Jets to a win.
He drew some criticism from Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Namath, who wrote on Twitter : “If you’ve got a right knee injury keeping you out of the game, why are you standing on the sideline the entire 2nd half? How bad can it be?”
Smith saw Namath’s comments and responded on Twitter : “Somebody tell Joe that the doctors have the final say on whether you can or cannot get back into the game … and also that I love him!”
The Jets will now apparently have to turn back to Fitzpatrick as their starting quarterback. Bryce Petty, a fourth-rounder last year, and rookie Christian Hackenberg, a second-rounder, are also on the roster.
Fitzpatrick was candid after the game Sunday about how he felt owner Woody Johnson, general manager Mike Maccagnan and Bowles, among others, had lost their faith in him.
“The biggest thing in this game, in order to last, is to have belief in yourself,” Fitzpatrick said. “Because when the owner stops believing in you, the GM stops believing in you and the coaches stop believing in you, sometimes all you have is yourself.
“So, that’s kind of something I’ve had to deal with before, something I’m dealing with now.”
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