September 5, 2013

NFL Notebook: Smith to start at QB for Jets against Bucs

The Associated Press

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. - Geno Smith is the new face of the franchise for the New York Jets.

Well, at least for the opening game of the season.

The rookie quarterback will start in the opener at home Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The team finally confirmed Wednesday what had been expected since Mark Sanchez injured his right shoulder in a preseason game against the Giants on Aug. 24.

"They'll try to rattle my cage," Smith said about the Buccaneers. "I expect those guys to come out fired up and they want to make a statement. They've got a rookie quarterback and they'll want to hit me and get me off my game but I expect those things. And I look forward to it."

Smith, who had an up-and-down preseason, was a second-round pick out of West Virginia.

Despite announcing Smith as the starter for this week, Coach Rex Ryan wouldn't commit to him for the long term.

JAGUARS: A decision on Blaine Gabbert's return from a broken thumb could stretch until game day.

Coach Gus Bradley said his quarterback decision "very easily could" last until before Sunday's game against Kansas City.

49ERS: Linebacker Aldon Smith and former Niners tight end Delanie Walker were named in a lawsuit by a Northern California man who said that he was shot during a party at Smith's house.

David Kleczek, a lawyer for Ronndale Esporlas, claims that Smith and Walker fired weapons illegally during a party at Smith's San Jose home on June 29, 2012.

The players charged a $10 admission and $5 per drink, the lawsuit said. Smith, 23, and Walker, 29 were allegedly intoxicated on Smith's balcony when they later fired gunshots in the air while trying to end the party, the lawsuit said.

Kleczek said they then moved to the driveway where allegedly more shots were fired.

Esporlas, 21, was shot twice in the leg while he was allegedly "caught in the crossfire between the two groups of people firing gunshots at each other," the lawsuit said.

Neither Walker nor Smith, who was stabbed at the party, were charged in the incident.

ROGER GOODELL, commissioner of the NFL, took issue with the notion that the league's $765 million settlement with former players is a paltry sum compared to the sport's revenues.

"This is a significant amount of money," he said. "The plaintiffs also agreed it was an appropriate amount. The mediator felt it was an appropriate amount."

Goodell made his first public comments since the settlement to the lawsuits was announced last week.

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