When the New York Jets open their season on Sept. 13 against the Cleveland Browns, Quarterback Geno Smith wonâ€™t be wearing a helmet on the sidelines. Â He will be wearing a different kind of headgear altogether after backup linebacker Ikemefuna Enemkpali allegedly punched — and broke — Smithâ€™s jaw Tuesday. Â Â
â€œIt had nothing to do with football,” head coach Todd Bowles said the following day in an unexpected press conference before practice was scheduled to start. “It was something very childish, and he got cold-cocked, sucker punched — whatever you want to call it, in the jaw.â€ Â Enemkpali has been dismissed from the team, and Smithâ€™s jaw is going to take somewhere between six and 10 weeks to heal after surgery this week.
The disagreement reportedly stemmed from Enemkpali confronting Smith about a plane ticket that was given to Smith to attend the linebackerâ€™s football camp in Texas. Â Smith did not attend the camp, and Enemkpali wanted the $600 he spent reimbursed. Even though the former Virginia star agreed to pay Enemkpali back, it didnâ€™t happen in time to avoid getting popped in the face.
With Smith expected to miss a significant portion of his Junior campaign, Three And Out Sports takes you point-by-point through the best quotes of the Jetsâ€™ latest gaffe:
â€œIt was something very childish, that sixth-graders could have talked about,â€ Coach Bowles offered without going into specifics at a press conference. Â Â
If the incident indeed did start over a $600 plane ticket, I need to hang out with the sixth-graders that Bowles knows. Â The average 12 year-old does not have access to $600 or possess the ability to purchase a plane ticket. Apparently, I grew up in the wrong neighborhood. Â
The second-year linebacker apologized for his actions, but he did leave a few things out when he issued a statement: â€œGeno and I let our frustration get the best of usâ€¦I deeply regret and apologize for my actions. Â It was never my intention to harm anyone.â€
Wait, Mr. Enemkpali, how do you punch someone in the face and only accidentaly cause harm? Geno Smith is probably more frustrated that neither of you are playing Week 1, and heâ€™s going to have to drink through a straw for the next month.
Surprisingly, cornerback Antonio Cromartie made the best point of the whole situation, telling reporters in a press conference the following day, â€œI hold both of them responsible, just the way it played out.”
Smith is set to make $585,000 this year, or just over $34,000 per week during the season. Â For $600, he could have avoided the situation and enjoyed chewing his steak for dinner. Â IK Enemkpali was tipped to make $510,000 this year with the Jets. Â Although this wasnâ€™t his first time punching someone he wasnâ€™t supposed to, it might be the most expensive.
Michel Vick, who was on the Jetsâ€™ roster for the 2014 season, was quick to tweet support for his fellow quarterback, quoting Vince Lombardi: â€œIt’s not whether you get knocked down, it’s whether you get up.”
The Jetsâ€™ quarterback situation involves Harvard grad Ryan Fitzpatrick getting the first team snaps and rookie Bryce Petty backing him up. Â For several years running, the Jetsâ€™ quarterback situation should not impact your fantasy team standings. Â
Best for last: Coach Bowles said that he was angry at his starting quarterback too: â€œIt takes two to tango,â€ Bowles said and immediately followed up by countering his own logic, saying it takes â€œone to throw a punch.â€ Â It does take two to tango, but when you are assaulted at work out of the blue, you may end up dancing off-beat.