Smith: I’m a Jet

Brad Smith ran back two kicks for touchdowns in 2010.

Brad Smith could go from being involved in nearly every play for the Jets to being involved in none at all.

After learning the Jets placed a second-round tender on him earlier in the week, the five-year veteran said he wants to remain in green and white.

“I’m a Jet. I love playing for the Jets,” Smith told Metro. “I really couldn’t imagine not playing for the Jets.”

The former quarterback at Missouri converted into a hybrid, jack-of-all-trades role and has added an unparalleled element to Gang Green. In addition to averaging 28.6 yards per kickoff return in 2010, Smith began to fully emerge as a big wrinkle in the Jets offense, running the Wildcat and even starting one game at wide receiver for an injured Jerricho Cotchery. But while financial details concern Smith, who signed a one-year contract last March for slightly more than $1 million, he also wants to see more time in the passing game where he’s had just 11 receptions the last two seasons.

“It’s important for me to have a larger role,” Smith said. “We’ll see how it plays out, but I believe I’ve shown that I can play wide receiver. … You try to take advantage of every single opportunity you get, but you also want to have that role defined for you as well, and I want that bigger role in the offense.”

The Jets’ receiving corps is of utmost importance this offseason, but re-signing Braylon Edwards and Santonio Holmes seem to be of higher priority than Smith.

“You don’t want to go anywhere where they offer you A, B, C, whatever it is and just go for those reasons and then not win a Super Bowl,” Smith said. “I want to win that Super Bowl, I want to win games. I don’t want to go just anywhere but at the same time, I need to keep my options open and listen to what’s out there.

“I love the Jets, but more than that I love my teammates and I love the fans here. I’d like to stay here if they can make the best offer for me.”

That offer, of course, will only come if and when a new collective bargaining agreement is signed. Smith, who is against an expanded schedule that could potentially leave the two teams in the Super Bowl having played 22 games from Week 1 through the end of the playoffs, is watching from a distance in his native Youngstown, Ohio where he’s working with the Brad Smith Foundation. He would like to see the league “be really serious about player’s health. It’s unacceptable what we have for retired players in terms of health care when we give up our bodies the way we do for this game.”

“We can’t let this game that we all love so much just go away, for a week or for a season,” Smith said. “I am a generally optimistic person, [and] I’m really hopeful that we work something out.”


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