First, Geno Smith slipped to the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft. Then he promptly parted ways with his agents. All told, it's been a bumpy start to his professional career that's barely a week old.
But the former West Virginia star, who has yet to settle on new representation, has decided to take control of the message. In an interview with USA Today's Jim Corbett, Smith addressed recent anonymous criticisms about his game.
"I don't worry about what people say -- my skin is pretty thick," Smith told Corbett. "I've never been in trouble."
The quarterback also denied a Yahoo.com report that he was more interested in texting and tweeting than meeting with at least one NFL team prior to the draft.
"That's not true," he said. "I got strong remarks from all the teams I visited with. ... I couldn't care less what's coming out in the media because I know what's true."
Smith also said that his draft-day free fall from a sure-fire first-round pick to ultimately going to the Jets with the 39th selection wasn't why he fired his agents.
"No, that's not why I let them go," he said: "Parts of the draft experience were tough, but not all of it. With that entire process, you can see where some things went wrong. ... Choosing to leave those guys was the best decision for me at the time. That's what I went with. I think I'm pretty good with my decision making. So I trust myself."
So, yes, an inauspicious start but Smith is only looking ahead. And that means trying to win the quarterback job over a veteran journeyman (David Garrard) and a former first-rounder-anointed-franchise-savior who has fallen on hard times (Mark Sanchez).
"The first goal for me is to get in that playbook, learn the terminology and learn it like the back of my hand as much as I can do to stay ahead of the curve,'' Smith said.
"I have a goal in mind," he continued. "I'm going to work hard toward it. And I'm just going to do all the things I think are necessary for me to eventually be one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL.''
And if the Jets flounder in 2013 like they did in 2012, Smith may be one of the few faces remaining once general manager John Idzik cleans house.