The tumultuous career of New York Jets’ third year quarterback Geno Smith took an unexpected turn on Tuesday, as he was sucker punched by a linebacker in a locker room dispute, ending up with a broken jaw which will put him out of action for the next six-to-ten weeks. Rookie linebacker IK Enemkpali was released almost immediately after the incident for throwing the punch, which came as the result of a dispute over a $600 plane ticket he had given Smith to appear at his football camp back in July.

Jets head coach Todd Bowles stood in front of reporters and expressed his anger and frustration with the incident, calling it ‘childish.’ Bowles said, “It had nothing to do with football. It was something very childish. He got cold-cocked, sucker-punched, whatever you want to call it, in the jaw. He has a broken jaw, fractured jaw. The team knows it’s something we don’t tolerate, something we can’t stand. You don’t walk up to a man and punch him in the face. You can call him every name in the book and point in his face and do whatever you want, but when you punch a man in the face, that’s some serious stuff.”

The incident stemmed from Smith accepting the $600 plane ticket from Enemkpali to appear at his camp in Pflugerville, Texas, on July 11, according to sources. Problems arose when Smith did not show to the camp, which took place days after someone close to Smith was killed in a motorcycle accident in Miami. After Smith did not attend, Enemkpali demanded that the Jets quarterback refund him the $600 he allegedly used to purchase the plane ticket. Smith told Enemkpali he would reimburse him the money, but he had not as of Tuesday morning. Enkempali confronted Smith on Tuesday about the money, and the confrontation ended in the punch and the broken jaw.

A source had told ESPN’s Josina Anderson that Smith had approached Enemkpali at the beginning of training camp to quell any tension that might have lingered, and offered to repay the money. Enemkpali, a sixth-round pick in 2014, was released immediately by the team, with coach Todd Bowles saying it’s up to Smith if he wants to formally press charges. The coach also said he spoke to the team and then made the decision to let go of Enemkpali, who had character issues of his own when he was drafted last year.

Enemkpali released a statement Tuesday afternoon saying he was sorry for his actions.

“I apologize to the Jets organization, coaches, teammates and fans,” Enemkpali said. “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.”

While Enemkpali was the one who received the punishment for throwing the punch, neither Bowles or Smith’s Jets teammates are letting him off the hook for allowing the situation to continue the way it did. Bowles was quoted as saying ‘It takes two to tango,’ while cornerback Darrelle Revis told reporters, “I hold both of them responsible, just the way it played out.”

Smith will now have surgery, which will cause him to miss the beginning of the regular season. Having been one of the worst quarterbacks in football since he was drafted, Smith came into this season having to prove himself after the Jets added so much in terms of offensive weapons this offseason, including receivers Brandon Marshall and rookie Devin Street, along with drastically upgrading their secondary with the returning Revis and Antonio Cromartie. Now, Ryan Fitzpatrick is expected to start the season under center, and Bowles said at the press conference there is no guarantee Smith gets the starting spot back when he returns.

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2 Comments

  1. Business Web says:

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    • Mike Aglialoro Mike Aglialoro says:

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