One year after he was stranded in the green room at Radio City for the entire first round, the ominous spectre of Johnny Manziel, aka Johnny Football, was hanging over Geno Smith.

If Smith had proven to be The Chosen One, Jets general manager John Idzik would not have turned to Michael Vick as a fail-safe option.

And now the Jets were picking 18th, and Johnny Football and the circus he brings with him wherever he goes was still available to owner Woody Johnson, a notorious star gazer with PSLs to sell.

Johnny Jet would have meant the end of Geno Smith.

I asked him: “Was your heart racing thinking that maybe Johnny would be the pick?

“No,” said Smith, who was at Citi Field on Friday speaking with children at a Citi Kids event.

“Why not?”

“I wouldn’t care regardless.”

“Why not?”

“Because I wouldn’t. Why do you think not?”

“I just ask the questions …”

“Well I just answered it.”

“No no, you didn’t answer, you said you wouldn’t care, why wouldn’t you care?”

“Because I wouldn’t. I just wouldn’t.”

“If they had picked him, what do you think that would have meant for you?”

“No difference.”

“You wouldn’t have seen that as an indication that they had basically given up on you?”

“We’re talking hypothetical here.”

“No, I know that, yeah.”

“I don’t answer hypothetical questions. That didn’t happen.”

“But you were never worried that it would happen?”


“Would you have welcomed the competition if it did happen?”

“I welcome all competition, yes. As you know.”

“Would it have been a circus if he had come in?”

“There’s never a circus with the Jets. There’s never going to be one. We work extremely hard, we believe in what we do there, and we’re led from top to bottom, so all of that is kind of bogus.”

The Tim Tebow Big Top, of course, preceded Smith. Once Idzik signed Vick, who will create enough commotion if not controversy just by showing up, there was no room at the inn for Johnny Football, or Teddy Bridgewater. You can’t change your plan on a whim, unless you have a conviction that the devil you don’t know can be better than the devils you do know. The Browns had little to lose, and happily embraced the polarizing Johnny Cleveland.