Sunday's matchup between the New York Jets and Buffalo Bills will pit rookie against rookie, friend against friend. Jets' signal-caller Geno Smith and Bills quarterback E.J. Manuel have known each other since high school and rooted for each other during April's NFL draft. As the two rookies bang heads in Week 3, Smith talked about his personal relationship with Manuel, but insisted the competition will be as heated as ever come kickoff.
"To be compared to EJ, I'll take it. EJ's a great guy," noted Smith. "He's accomplished a bunch in his career and I think the world of him. He's also my good friend, so it's good to compete against a guy like that. But when it comes down to Sunday, there are no friends on the field."
The Bills took Manuel with the No .16 overall pick, while Smith fell into the second round at No. 39. Despite flying off the draft board later than expected, Smith was thrilled for his childhood friend for becoming the first rookie quarterback taken in the 2013 draft class.
"I stood up, I congratulated him and that was it," noted Smith. "Like I said, I was happy for him. I was happy for every single guy that got drafted. I'm past that now. I hate to talk about it because I'm focusing on what we have here, which is a great opportunity, (a) good team and we've got a tough matchup coming up on Sunday."
Both the Bills and Jets are looking to avoid a 0-2 start in the division, after the Patriots knocked each team off in Weeks 1 and 2 respectively. With Smith leading the Jets' huddle into a hostile environment, the rookie gunslinger admitted that Sunday's AFC East clash is a pipedream scenario for both him and Manuel.
"Every kid's dream at that point is to make it to the NFL," noted Smith. "Ironically enough, two guys that were friends then wind up getting drafted in the same year. So, I think that's pretty cool."