New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith will miss the first six to 10 weeks of the NFL season after getting his jaw broken by a teammate Tuesday.
The starting QB got into a locker room dispute with linebacker Ikemefuna Enemkpali over a $600 plane ticket, who then sucker-punched him in the face.
The rash and violent act prompted Enemkpali’s immediate ejection from the team as the Jets released the sixth round draft pick before he headed into his second season.
“It’s something we don’t tolerate; it’s something we can’t stand,” Coach Todd Bowles said, according to the New York Times. “You don’t walk up to another man and punch him in the face.
“It was something very childish that sixth-graders could have talked about,” he added, when asked of the cause of the scuffle.
Enemkpali was reportedly upset that Smith failed to appear at a charity event he hosted in July after he had paid the QB’s $600 airfare and limo. Smith, who earns approximately $1.25 million a year, agreed to pay the enraged 260-pound linebacker but hasn’t yet.
Smith is scheduled to have surgery on his jaw, and said in a statement to ESPN‘s Adam Schefter: “My only goal is to heal quickly and get back to playing with my teammates so I can be the best QB possible for the NY Jets.”
As for Enemkpali, he said “Geno and I let our frustration get the best of us, but I should have just walked away from the situation” in a subsequent apology.
It is not the first time Enemkpali has gotten in trouble over his flying fists. While a student at Louisiana Tech, he punched an off-duty cop who was working security and later had to be subdued with pepper spray and a stun gun, ESPN reported. He was arrested and charged with battery on a police officer and disturbing the peace/drunk, according to court records.
Backup quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, 32, will now have to lead the team for the first two games of the season at least when the Jets open up against against the Cleveland Browns on Sept. 13.