NEW YORK, N.Y. – Quarterback Geno Smith is relishing his new lease on life with the New York Giants. He's enjoying working alongside Eli Manning and with coach Ben McAdoo, the first offensive head coach of his professional career.
Smith also claims he's completely healthy despite surgery to repair a torn ACL some six months ago.
"I'm good, 100 [percent]," Smith said Tuesday at the 24th annual United Way of New York City Gridiron Gala. "I'm good."
Asked if he was at the point now where he would be cleared for training camp if it started today, he didn't hesitate.
"Yeah, of course," said Smith, who signed as a free agent with the Giants this offseason. He had spent the first four seasons of his career with the New York Jets after being a second-round pick out of West Virginia.
Smith, 26, needs to be healthy. He's in a crowded quarterback room after the Giants selected Davis Webb in the third round of this year's draft. Webb is now the potential successor to Manning and his spot on the final roster is secure.
Webb will likely spend his rookie season as the third-string quarterback. Smith is expected to compete with Josh Johnson for the backup role behind Manning.
Regardless of where Smith says he is physically in early May, expect the Giants to bring him along slowly and cautiously. McAdoo said as much recently in an interview.
It's a prudent approach. Linebacker J.T. Thomas also had his ACL repaired last season (in late September or early October) and said Tuesday night he's currently at 75-80 percent. Thomas has been running and doing some "mild cutting" so far, and has eyed the start of training camp for his full return.
"I'm taking it one day at a time. I'm at about 75-80 percent. I'll be ready to go in training camp," Thomas said. "I'm really, really trying to time the thing up, so when that light comes on Sunday there isn't any excuses why you won't see No. 55 on the field."
Thomas was injured while covering a kick in the final seconds of the first half of last season's opener against the Dallas Cowboys. It has been a while since he's been on the field playing football.
But Thomas said it helps mentally to be getting close to full strength and being back around his teammates this spring. The Giants defense is a close-knit group, as evidenced by the attendance at Tuesday night's event.
With Mark Herzlich being honored as a hometown hero for his work in the community, most of the Giants' linebacker room came out in support. Thomas, defensive captain Jonathan Casillas and Keenan Robinson were at the Gridiron Gala.
The 24th annual gala focused on providing educational resources for kids living in New York City's most-challenged communities.