When the movie script is written of Geno Smith's time with the Jets, fairly early in Act I Ryan Quigley's name will appear.
"I have yet to talk to Geno about it, but we've been joking around with the equipment guys," said Quigley, the free-agent punter signed a week and a half before the NFL Draft's first round two weeks ago. "I came into the locker room right after the draft and I saw my number had changed."
Just then, Quigley turned around and realized Smith was sitting alone, for the moment, at his temporary locker about four stalls down from his in the middle of the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center locker room.
"Hey, Geno, you took my number," the punter said, laughing of course. "I was Number 7 for the last three weeks."
"I did?" said the second-round QB, sounding genuinely contrite. "I'm sorry."
Smith revealed — after word had dribbled out the past few days — his new number, worn for the first time in a red QB's jersey for this morning's first practice of minicamp, but said the selection was guided by the equipment room staff.
"Twelve is retired," Smith said, showing he's mastered an important part of Jets history regarding Joe Namath and why Smith couldn't wear it as a pro, even though that was his number at West Virginia. "I had a choice, and I chose 7. No reason."
But seven has a good amount of good fortune attached to it, not to mention special karma for what the Yankees' Mickey Mantle, the Broncos' John Elway and the NBA's Pete Maravich among many others have done for that particular crooked digit.
And so, to, does Quigley's new number. We asked the question a few days ago when WR Thomas Mayo, who had been assigned No. 1 this offseason, was waived a few days ago. (Mayo has returned to this minicamp but as a tryout player only and wearing No. 81.). The new No. 1 is Quigley.
"My personality doesn't reflect the number one," Quigley said. "But it doesn't bother me. What matters is I'm here. And I was No. 1 last year in Chicago, so actually it's been kind of a lucky number for me."
The footman from Boston College won't get too much recognition in the locker room for his lucky letter, Q, considering how DE/OLB Quinton Coples cornered that market last year. But the luck of the "one," plus some skill in the punting arts will keep Quigley around along with Smith and the rest of the rookie class as they join the competition with the new and established veterans as this Jets offseason continues.
One other number change of the past few weeks became apparent today when first-year RB John Griffin modeled his new No. 24 — in offense white, naturally, not island green — and looked crisp running the ball.
In all, 61 players are on the minicamp roster and participating in this camp. The total includes seven draft picks, 14 signed undrafted rookie free agents, 13 signed first-year players, and 27 rookie and first-year tryout players. Here is the minicamp roster: