RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Tuesday afternoon news broke that Jets rookie linebacker IK Enemkpali punched Jets starting quarterback Geno Smith in the face, shattering Smith’s jaw and taking the quarterback out of play for six to ten weeks.
The Jets immediately released the former Louisiana Tech player. Head Coach Todd Bowles said the team would not tolerate the behavior.
Hundreds of miles south, Houston Bates, a college teammate of Enemkpali’s, was hard at work trying to make the Washington Redskins’ 53-man roster. He was shocked to hear what his former teammate had done.
“I know IK is a good guy. Whatever happened I can’t speak on,” Bates said. “But, I know he was a good guy. He had a great work ethic, he was a good guy, he took guys under his wing, respected all his teammates, respected all the coaches and as far as I know he’s a good guy. Whatever happened up at Jets Camp, I really can’t speak on.”
Bowles called the dispute “childish,” and reports later came out that the altercation centered on a $600-debt Enemkpali felt Smith owed him for a plane ticket.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that Smith had agreed to take part in Enemkpali’s summer football camp but backed out after a friend died in Miami. Schefter reports Enemkpali bought smith a $600 plane ticket to get to the camp and wanted to be reimbursed.