EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - When Geno Smith survived the firestorm created last week when he replaced Eli Manning as the starting quarterback of the Giants, he never imagined the decision would be reversed one week later.
And he wasn't happy when it was.
"I wasn't," Smith said on Wednesday, one day after he found out that his streak of consecutive games as the Giants starting quarterback would end at one. "Any competitor wouldn't be. To be put in that situation where you get a chance to play and then you're being pulled, but it's not because you played bad so you try to figure out why. But you've got to understand that some things happen in this business, and you've just got to roll with it."
The 27-year-old Smith did roll with the decision made by interim Giants coach Steve Spagnuolo, much the way he's handled everything about the crazy last week. As upset as he was to get only one start, Spagnuolo said he remained a true professional and promised not to do anything to disrupt the team.
"I had a conversation with Geno, which was a tremendous conversation," Spagnuolo said. "I have a great deal of respect for Geno Smith and the way he reacted. He was a man. He obviously didn't agree with the decision. But he is a team player and he told me that he was going to go forward and wants to be a part of this. I have a great deal of respect for him. That's not an easy thing to do."
Smith didn't pretend it was easy, either. When he was given the chance to start on Sunday in Oakland, the former Jets starter promised to seize the opportunity. And he wasn't terrible. In his first start in a year and his first extended action since 2015, Smith completed 21 of 34 passes for 212 yards and a touchdown. He did fumble twice - including a crucial one at the Raiders 9 yard line late in the first half.
But for the most part, he gave the Giants a rare chance to win a game.
In other circumstances, he likely would've earned another start. But these aren't normal circumstances. And Smith declined to say if he felt he got a raw deal.
"I mean I think I had an opportunity to play," he said. "I respect the heck out of Coach (Ben) McAdoo. I think he did something maybe not a lot of people would have. He gave me an opportunity and I respect it, I appreciate it.
"As far as sympathy or something like that, I'm not looking for it. I don't need any sympathy. I'm built for all of this. I'm built for everything that's going to come my way. And I know that all of these tests and these trials are preparing me for something greater. So I look at adversity as something that can be positive. I'm thankful for the adversity and I look forward to it."
That said, Smith admitted he doesn't completely understand the decision to switch back to Manning. "That's something that maybe I'll figure out along the road," he said. "But as of now, no."
He also doesn't have an answer to the bigger-picture question about his brief opportunity: Did he do enough in what might be his last appearance for the Giants to convince anyone around the league that he deserves another shot at a starting job?
"To some people it may never be enough, and to others it will be," he said. "That's not my job to focus on that. My job is to get better as a player, focus on my game and how I can improve."