Father of Giants' Geno Smith says he received death threat after Eli Manning benched

ByJordan Raanan ESPN logo
Saturday, December 9, 2017

The father of New York Giants quarterback Geno Smithsays he received a death threat last week before his son started Sunday in Oakland in place of Eli Manning.

The call came Tuesday, Geno Smith Jr.told NJ Advance Media, a little more than an hour after it was announced that his son would replace longtime Giants starter Manning.

"I was just at work," Smith Jr. told the website. "I answered, and he was like, 'Geno?' So I just listened, and he was like, 'Is this Geno?' I was like, 'Yeah.' He was like, 'Your son better not start or we're going to kill you.' I kind of just laughed and then he hung up."

Smith Jr. said he received another call Monday after coach Ben McAdoo was fired by the Giants. The Smiths did not inform the team about the threat, according to a team spokesman. NFL security was not told either, according to the NJ Advance Media report.

The Smiths didn't take the threat seriously.

"If someone was going to kill me, they ain't going to call me and tell me," Smith Jr. said.

Geno Smith consistently took the high road and said he tried not to listen to the hate coming from fans of Manning and the Giants after he was named starter.

His father handled the situation in a similar manner. He told his son about the death threat shortly after receiving the call.

"I think my dad handled it well," the quarterback told NJ Advance Media. "He kind of just hung up the phone. It's just kind of shameful that would be happening because of someone doing their job. When he told me that, I was like, 'What?' But you kind of get a sense of comfortability from him. He was like, 'Man, it's nothing. Don't worry about it. Just do your thing, play your game.' So that was why I was able to be easy with it."

Smith started in place of Manning in the 24-17 loss to the Raiders. It ended Manning's streak of 210 consecutive starts and sparked an outrage among Giants fans.

His teammates noticed the negative attention it drew for Smith.

"I feel bad for Geno, too," offensive lineman Justin Pugh said earlier this week. "He didn't ask to get put in the situation, and a lot of disrespect and hate were thrown his way, and it's just uncalled for. I get everyone wants to support Eli, but by supporting one man to put another man down is just not the way to do it.

"At the end of the day, things in the building and the competition will work itself out, and obviously Eli is at quarterback. Obviously, he's been [my] only quarterback, and I've obviously supported him throughout. I just hate to see everyone bash another guy for a coach making a decision to put him in the game."

McAdoo and general manager Jerry Reese have since been fired. Manning was reinserted as the starting quarterback for Sunday's game against the Cowboys.

Smith wasn't exactly thrilled with the situation but handled it all professionally.

"I wasn't," he said earlier this week. "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 got to understand that some things happen in this business, and you just got to roll with it."