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"All this can be yours," a passenger tells Smith, who smiles. He took in some of the city's more refined sights the night before, when Coach Kelly and several assistants brought him and a few other prospects to the tony Capital Grille on Chestnut Street.
One of Smith's jobs on this World Tour is to embrace the uncertainty. "I'm taking on this process like it's a practice or a game," he says. "You dress sharp. You come in eager, wide-eyed—all the things coaches would want to see from a franchise quarterback."
Whether or not it's for one of the teams on the Tour, Smith will play somewhere next year, an inevitability that his mother, Tracey Sellers recognizes.
My entire life," says Smith, "she's always told me, 'You're so talented! You can do so many things!'"
We were not the Huxtables," says Sellers, "but we've done our absolute best."
Sellers had Eugene when she was 17, living in Miami. "You made an immature decision," said her mother, Mosetta (whose nephew Melvin Bratton starred at running back for the Hurricanes before a career-altering knee injury in the 1988 national title game). "But we'll get through this. We're moving forward."
Tracey stayed in school through college thanks to a huge assist from Mosetta, who supported her daughter without trying to replace her. "I still had to be responsible and accountable for my son," recalls Tracey, who now works as a business consultant and runs a Dade County nonprofit called Parents Without Partners. "She made me step up to the plate."
For the first six years of his life—until Tracey had a son, Geonte, with her current husband—Geno was the center of her universe. Determined to give him every opportunity to succeed, she lavished him with books, educational toys and attention. Among his interests was drawing, and inspired by the work of his godsister Kiyondra Talley, who now works with the singer Rihanna, he turned himself into an artist.
"He got to be so good," says the 17-year-old Geonte, "that he could draw cartoons better than the original cartoonist."
Yes, he was cultivating a robust life of the mind, but Geno occasionally ventured outdoors. Tracey had remained friends with his father, Geno Smith Jr., and after bargaining with him—"He's got a school project, he needs to be back by five"—she'd release the boy to his father and Uncle Antwan, who would take him to a nearby park, drilling him on passing and footwork.