Speaking to reporters Wednesday, the New York Jets quarterback voiced his frustration over being forced to the sideline as he waits for his broken jaw to heal.
"I'm extremely (angry)," said Smith, according to Newsday. "But I have to keep my temper down. I can't exhibit that in the locker room, I can't exhibit that on a daily basis. I just feel for my family more because they enjoy seeing me out there."
Smith is still at least a month away from returning from a broken jaw he suffered when Jets teammate IK Enemkpali punched him during an argument over a $600 plane ticket on Aug. 11. The Jets cut Enemkpali the same day and were forced to start the season with veteran backup Ryan Fitzpatrick under center.
Like many quarterbacks whose starting jobs aren't on sturdy ground, Smith seems perturbed that his convalescing might be creaking open the door for Fitzpatrick to remain the Jets' starter. In Sunday's 31-10 win over the Cleveland Browns, Fitzpatrick posted ho-hum numbers, but that didn't stop Smith from re-evaluating where he might stand in the team's leadership hierarchy.
"You know what? I'm on the team. The guys look at me as a leader," Smith said. "Whether it's my team or not, it's Woody's team. It's coach Bowles' team. And it's a trickle-down effect.
"You want to say, 'OK, it's Fitz's team?' But that's kind of pinning me and him against each other," Smith continued. "We're all in this thing together. It's a collective bond, and it was that way when I was projected the starter and when I got hurt it was that way. And right now it's the same way. ... I'm in a different position now, so you've got to be realistic about things."
Ultimately, Smith understands focusing on his health is the best way for him to hasten his return and reassure his on-field leadership role. He said he has had plenty of support from coach Todd Bowles and his teammates during his rehabilitation. Although he remains confident in his credentials as a starter, Smith said he feels vulnerable about decisions that could potentially affect his role on the team.
"If I was playing bad and got benched, that's on me," Smith said. "But for something like that to happen, it's like ... what can you do? You've just got to, kind of, weather the storm and move on from there."