The Times West Virginian

Sports

May 4, 2013

HERTZEL COLUMN: Geno Smith compared to Joe Namath

MORGANTOWN — You think of the New York Jets and still, all these years later, you still think of Joe Namath, the quarterback who not only put the Jets on the football map but the entire American Football League, to say nothing of white llama rugs.

Now Geno Smith is going to be the Jets quarterback, so what should you think of?

Joe Namath, what else?

That’s how it was a couple of years ago for Greg Schiano when he was preparing his Rutgers team to face West Virginia University, a rather difficult prep considering he never did beat the Mountaineers while at Rutgers, having a couple of close calls and that first-year disaster that wound up 80-7 in favor of WVU.

“I kept looking at (Smith) and saying who is this kid like?’’ Schiano said to a New Jersey paper after a practice. “He’s not like anybody. Then, I remembered watching as a kid Joe Namath. That’s who he reminds me of.

“He’s lanky, and he has a quick release. He’s not running all over the place. He’s a true, drop-back, big-time passer. If I said that to the kids I don’t think they would know who Joe Namath was. The guy on television.

“But that’s who he reminds me of. He just delivers the ball with such precision, speed, zip and a quick release.”

Smith, of course, grew into a second-round NFL draft choice, and if Schiano is right, he’s looking at a long, successful career in the NFL.

Namath, you see, is a Hall of Fame quarterback.

o o o o o o

Here’s one no one around here really knew before someone asked Stedman Bailey about it following being drafted in the third round by the St. Louis Cardinals, joining fellow Mountaineer receiver Tavon Austin, who was that team’s first round pick.

His name, it seemed, was unusual enough to have one of the St. Louis media ask him about it.

“I was told by my mom that she got it from Oprah Winfrey’s boyfriend. His name is Stedman Graham and I guess she liked it, so that’s what she named me,” Bailey said.

But Graham is really quite a bit more than just Oprah’s boy toy.

He’s an educator, author, businessman and speaker who has been with the talk show host and media mogul since 1986, long enough to have been engaged to her back in November 1992 only to have them decide they would rather have a “spiritual union.”

Bailey’s namesake is CEO of S. Graham & Associates, a Chicago based corporate and education marketing and consulting firm and founder of AAD, formerly Athletes Against Drugs, a non-profit organization that provides services to youth and awarded more than $1.5 million in scholarships since it was founded in 1985.

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