Still Waiting on a Reply from Geno Smith


Geno Smith hasn’t written back, and now he’s a contender for Comeback Player of the Year. (Getty Images)

On March 8, 2022, many Lakesiders’ phones buzzed with an ESPN notification, and their hearts dropped — “Sources: Seattle Seahawks agree to trade QB Russell Wilson to Denver Broncos, get three players, picks,” the alert read. Wilson, Super Bowl XLVIII champion, a projected hall-of-famer, and the centerpiece of the franchise for the past 10 years, had sparked trade rumors for months, but the news still came as a shock to Seahawks fans. 

Despite a boatload of players and picks in return, Seattle’s future looked grim. Calls to fire head coach Pete Carroll reverberated around the city, just as NFL analysts and fans from across the nation predicted the Seahawks to be the 32nd-best team in football—out of 32 teams. Between Geno Smith, already written off as a low-level veteran, and Drew Lock, a struggling passer acquired from Denver, tanking for a young talent such as C.J. Stroud or Bryce Young in the draft seemed the best option for the franchise. 

Fans of the NFL have joked for years that the league’s schedule seems scripted, yet the Seahawks-Broncos matchup in primetime week one of the NFL season seemed too deliberate to be coincidence. Carroll handed Smith the starting quarterback job after their last preseason game, setting last year’s backup on a collision course with Wilson. Regardless of their rest-of-season outcome, a win versus the Wilson-led Broncos would erase the sour taste in the mouths of Seahawks fans. 

After a hot start by Seattle’s offense in the first quarter, both teams came to a defensive stalemate by the second half, including two goal-line fumble recoveries by Michael Jackson and pass-breakups by rookies Tariq Woolen and Coby Bryant. The Seahawks kept Wilson at bay throughout, including the very end when Broncos kicker Brandon McManus missed a walkoff 64-yard field goal. Against the odds, the Seahawks prevailed, 17-16.

Since week one, Smith still hasn’t let his pen touch paper.

Smith headlined at 23 for 28 passing attempts, 195 yards, and two touchdowns, and after the nail-biting victory, delivered a classic line: “They wrote me off, but I ain’t write back though.” Despite stints on three different teams before his time in Seattle, Geno never got a fair chance to make it in the league. After a successful college career at West Virginia, the New York Jets drafted him onto a sinking ship. Lacking an established coaching staff or an offensive system built around his strengths, Geno had two unimpressive years as a starter before spending the rest of his career as a backup. Until now.

Since week one, Smith still hasn’t let his pen touch paper. In fact, the Seahawks stand towards the top of the NFC West at 6-4 with a great shot at the postseason. Incredibly poised and accurate with a 72.8% completion rate, 108 passer rating, and 4.25 TD-INT ratio (first, second, and third amongst starting quarterbacks), Smith embodies exactly what Pete Carroll has been craving in his offense for years: control. Together with rookie Kenneth Walker’s rushing dominance, Smith has led countless long, well-executed scoring drives that balance the running and passing game, allowing the Seahawks to dominate time of possession in nearly every game this season. 

On the other hand, the Wilson-led Broncos have not been unlimited—far from it, at 3-7. Instagram comment sections are filled with furious Broncos fans mocking Russell Wilson’s corny new tagline “Broncos Country, Let’s Ride.” Fans have even gone so far as to suggest Denver traded for the wrong Seattle quarterback, and at this point in the season, who can say they’re wrong?

Geno Smith’s comeback story is one of the most memorable and inspiring in recent sports memory. Regardless of their NFL allegiances, fans from across the country have shown nothing but support and positivity for him as he revitalizes his career. Despite all of his recent success, however, Geno has stayed humble and sent a strong message to the rest of the sport world: Hard work will always pay off, and opportunity will come to an athlete who doesn’t give up.