- Associated Press - Tuesday, October 25, 2016

NEW YORK (AP) - Broadway Joe delivered a headline-making apology.

Joe Namath backpedaled Tuesday on his criticism of New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith for not returning to the game Sunday after injuring his right knee and standing on the sideline for the second half of a 24-16 victory over the Baltimore Ravens.

Smith was hurt while being sacked in the second quarter. An MRI on Monday revealed that Smith has a torn anterior cruciate ligament , a season-ending injury.

“My bad Geno,” Namath wrote on Twitter to Smith. “In the dark ages we players had the say. I hope you heal and play as long as you choose! Joe.”

Smith started his first game since the 2014 season finale in place of the benched Ryan Fitzpatrick. He was 4 of 8 for 95 yards, including a 69-yard touchdown to Quincy Enunwa, but was hurt when he scrambled to his left and held onto the ball rather than throw it away on a third-down play, and took the sack.

After being examined on the sideline for several minutes, Smith walked to the locker room for further evaluation. He watched the rest of the game in the second half from the sideline while wearing sweats.

Namath took to Twitter when he saw Smith.

“If you’ve got a right knee injury keeping you out of the game,” the Hall of Famer wrote , “why are you standing on the sideline the entire 2nd half? How bad can it be?”

After seeing Namath’s comments later Sunday, Smith responded on Twitter : “Somebody tell Joe that the doctors have the final say on whether you can or cannot get back into the game … and also that I love him!”

Namath eventually got Smith’s message and responded Tuesday morning.

Smith initially didn’t think the injury was serious. He was seeking a second opinion on his knee on Tuesday, but his season - and, likely, Jets career - is over. The 2013 second-round draft pick out of West Virginia is scheduled to be a free agent after the season, and New York is not expected to re-sign him.

Smith wrote on Twitter on Tuesday that “this is only the beginning and the future is so bright,” and thanked fans, friends and family for their support.

“I’ll be back stronger, faster and smarter in no time,” Smith wrote.

___

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP_NFL

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