Geno Smith broke his jaw in a locker room fight with Ikemefuna Enemkpali on Aug. 11.
Head coach Todd Bowles described what happened before practice to NewYorkJets.com on Tuesday. Bowles described Enemkpali’s act as “childish.” The New York Jets released him later on in the day:
“This is very brief because I have practice, but our quarterback is out six to 10 weeks, meaning Geno (Smith). There was an altercation in the locker room. It had nothing to do with football. It was something very childish.
HC Todd Bowles: QB Geno Smith out 6-10 weeks with a broken jaw that will require surgery.
— New York Jets (@nyjets) August 11, 2015
“He got cold-cocked, sucker-punched, whatever you want to call it, in the jaw. He has a broken jaw, fractured jaw, it requires some surgery. He won’t be at practice today, so you won’t see him today.
“The culprit was IK (Ikemefuna Enemkpali), the outside linebacker, who has been released. We released IK and that’s pretty much the gist of it.”
Bowles said the Jets never tolerate an act like this, per their official website:
“I have meetings and if you want to know more after practice, I can tell you more, but he (Geno Smith) will be out six to 10 weeks at least and IK is gone and he won’t be practicing today.
“(Smith) won’t be playing this weekend, he probably won’t play in the preseason, and depending on how surgery goes, we’ll see where we go from there. We may add or not add another quarterback, but we are down (a player at the quarterback position). It’s something we’re dealing with.
— Bleacher Report NFL (@BR_NFL) August 11, 2015
“The team knows it’s something we don’t tolerate, something we can’t stand. You don’t walk up to another man and punch him in the face.”
Bowles did not specify the details of the fight. He told the media, “I’ll let them tell you.” He also denied a prior issue existed between Smith and Enemkpali, per NewYorkJets.com.
Sources told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter the dispute was over $600. Enemkpali bought a plane ticket for Smith last month. This was for the former’s football camp in Pflugervile, Texas.
Smith did not attend the camp because a close friend died in a motorcyle accident in Miami. Enemkpali then demanded Smith to refund the $600, per ESPN.
ESPN’s Josina Anderson says Smith offered to pay Enemkpali at the start of training camp.
Bowles: “We’re not going to tolerate anything like that from anybody. We don’t care who you are.”
— New York Jets (@nyjets) August 11, 2015
The source gave Anderson more specific details, per ESPN:
“Geno initially intended to attend the event out of goodwill. Geno did not borrow $600 from (Enemkpali). He volunteered to attend the event. Geno offered to pay the kid back from what was spent, to help him out.”
Bowles told ESPN Smith did not retaliate. Several Jets players intervened and tried to break up the altercation. A trainer informed Bowles about what happened.
Nonethteless, the Jets head coach was also disappointed in Smith.
“It takes two to tango — one to throw a punch, but two to tango,” Bowles told ESPN.
Bowles said Enemkpali regretted what he did, per ESPN.
“Once (Enemkpali) calmed down, he was very remorseful,” Bowles said. “From Geno’s standpoint, anytime someone punches you in the face unwarranted, you’re going to be pissed off — and he was pissed off.”
Smith posted a photo on Instagram with the caption, “ILL BE BACK!”
Enemkpali apologized to the Jets in a statement which ESPN obtained:
“I apologize to the Jets organization, coaches, teammates and fans. Geno and I let our frustration get the best of us, but I should have just walked away from the situation. I deeply regret and apologize for my actions.
“It was never my intention to harm anyone. I appreciate the opportunity I had with the Jets.”
This is not Enemkpali’s first bout with controversy.
Schefter says he punched an off-duty police officer during a fight in a bar. Police had to subdue Enemkpali with pepper spray and a stun gun. This happened five years ago when he was in college at Louisiana Tech University.
— Sporting News (@sportingnews) August 11, 2015
A judge charged Enemkpali with simple battery. He issued a suspended jail sentence, 32 hours of community service and an order to attend an anger management course, per Schefter.
Bowles confirmed to ESPN that Ryan Fitzpatrick will be “our starter” at quarterback. His current backup is rookie Bryce Petty.
Schefter says the Jets have scheduled a workout with free agent Tyler Thigpen. The New York Daily News (via ESPN) says the Jets are eyeing veteran quarterback Rex Grossman. He last played for the Washington Redskins two seasons ago.
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