The Seahawks’ season didn’t end the way Geno Smith envisioned, but the quarterback has an optimistic view of his future with the team.
“I want to end my career in Seattle,” Smith told reporters after his team’s 41-23 loss to the 49ers on Saturday. “I want to be here. The city, the city, the team, the coach [Pete] Carroll, the organization, they all kissed me. I was a guy who probably could have been out of the league. They kissed me. And I want to return the favor.”
Smith, who had a surprise breakout this season at age 32 with a franchise-record 4,282 passing yards, held his own again in his first-ever playoff start. Although he had a costly fumble that ended a promising third-quarter drive and also threw a pick, he was an undisputed leader on offense with 253 yards and two touchdowns.
His story ultimately fell through, but his performance on Saturday backed up the year he had, and his coach backed up his desire to keep building something.
“He’s for real,” Pete Carroll told reporters after the game. “Geno is the real deal. He can do all the things that a great quarterback does. His movement was probably more of a surprise than anything, that he was so efficient with his movement. I mean he could still throw him. But his ability to stay poised and calm throughout the year. With all the hype and the buildup, he could have gone south five different times, and he didn’t. “He never wavered. His leadership really stood out. His voice in the locker room, his voice with our players. He said the right things all year. Until today.
“It’s a great story. It’s a great story for a lot of players, in other sports, wherever you want to go. If you keep hanging on and believing in yourself. You don’t let the outside message in affect you who you are and what you are, you’ll find your best. And I think Geno has found his best. He’s ready to come back and go again. I thought he just had an incredibly good season for us.
When asked in a follow-up if Smith would be back, Carroll kept it simple: “I hope so.”
NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported on Saturday morning that pending free agent Smith is expected to return in 2023 — either on the franchise tag or on a longer contract — and everything the coach and quarterback said after the end of their season confirms the meeting is in the works.
These details will need to be ironed out at some point soon.
For now, the Seahawks are equipped with two more picks in the first two rounds of the 2023 draft thanks to the trade of past QB Russell Wilson. That’s a lot of opportunities to help their likely QB of the future continue their ascent.
“Part of me is like, ‘Man, we’ve come such a long way. Overcame so many obstacles,” Smith said. “Of course, the naysayers and such. Exceed their expectations. But I don’t think we beat our own expectations. I think we had much higher expectations for ourselves. So what I see for this team is a team with a bright future. Many young people in this team have acquired a lot of experience. First playoff game, my first start in the playoffs. We have a long way to go. I am excited about the future. I know we can be much better, and it’s going to take a lot of commitment. I’m here for the long haul. I’m ready to go.”