Geno Smith Reveals How Pete Carroll Gave Him a ‘New Lease on Life’

Seahawks QB Geno Smith and head coach Pete Carroll celebrating together.

Getty Seahawks QB Geno Smith and head coach Pete Carroll

The Seattle Seahawks made the playoffs in the 2022 season after it traded away its Super Bowl champion quarterback Russell Wilson. The franchise is now rebuilding on the fly and winning games while doing it, sitting at 4-2 and in the postseason picture again in 2023, thanks to quarterback Geno Smith. While Smith gets a ton of credit for all that, Smith gives much of the credit for rejuvenating his career to Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll.

In a new NFL Films Presents special, Smith talks about his relationship with his head coach and how Carroll has made a huge difference in his life, both on the field and within Smith, the person.

Geno Smith Says Pete Carroll Changed His Whole Perspective

Heading into the 2022 NFL season, many pundits picked the Seahawks to finish at or near the bottom of not only the NFC West but the entire league. The team traded Wilson, a nine-time Pro Bowl QB, to the Denver Broncos in the previous offseason and installed journeyman signal-caller Gen Smith as the team’s starter.

In what should have been a hard-reset year for the Seahawks, the team went 9-8, making the playoffs as a Wild Card team and taking a 17-16 lead into halftime of their eventual 41-23 playoff loss to the San Francisco 49ers.

How did Smith, a QB once firmly labeled a draft bust, lead the Seahawks to those heights? Two words: Pete Carroll.

“He’s given me that self-confidence. He’s given me a new lease on life,” Smith told Carissa Thompson from NFL Films. “I’ve always been a little hard on myself. I’m always like, ‘You’re not good enough.’ But he helped me change the way I spoke to myself.”

In turn, Carroll gives Smith credit for allowing “his voice to become the voice” on the field and in the locker room. “In doing so,” Carroll explained, “He just did everything exactly like you’d hope he would do it.”

The love-fest between Smith and Carroll is again translating to the field, as the Seahawks are among the best teams in the NFC this season, and in a year with no true superpower anywhere in the league, they have a real shot at winning it all.

Smith’s Resurgence Is No Small Feat After the QB’s Fall From Grace

Talking about Geno Smith as a potential Super Bowl signal-caller would have been absolutely absurd just two years ago.

The Florida native was a second-round pick out of West Virginia in the 2013 NFL Draft by the New York Jets, and then-head coach Rex Ryan immediately handed the young passer the keys to the offense to replace Mark Sanchez.

Smith started all 16 games that season, and the Jets earned an 8-8 record. However, most (if not all) of those wins were thanks to a dominant defense. The rookie QB completed just 55.8% of his passes in the 2013 campaign and threw for 3,046 yards with 12 touchdowns and a whipping 21 interceptions.

In 2014, the former Mountaineer started 13 games, putting up a 3-10 record while throwing 13 TDs and 13 INTs. Set to be the starter again in 2015, Smith got sucker-punched by teammate IK Enemkpali over an alleged unpaid debt, which broke Smith’s jaw. The injury, combined with Ryan Fitzpatrick’s patented “FitzMagic,” limited the QB to just one appearance that season.

A year later, Smith tore his ACL, and that kicked off his long road as an NFL journeyman. The QB spent time with the New York Giants and Los Angeles Chargers before catching on with the Seahawks in 2019.

When Carroll finally gave Smith his long-awaited second chance, the signal-caller responded by winning Comeback Player of the Year last season.

Now, the veteran passer is the leader of one of the top teams in the NFL and is looking to build on his fairy tale story in this postseason.

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