feature image courtesy – USATSI
What just happened in New York?!? Starting QB Geno Smith is out 6-10 weeks. I read that and think he got injured on some play in training camp or in the weight room or something football related. But, no. The Jets quarterback was sucker punched in his own locker room by his own teammate over something coach Todd Bowles described as: “something very childish that 6th graders could have talked about.” Turns out, it was because Smith allegedly owed the player in question $600 for a plane ticket. $600?!?! If you thought the Jets would return to sanity after letting Rex Ryan walk, you were wrong. Now it looks like Smith will miss the rest of the preseason and at least a few weeks of the regular season. Granted, Smith hasn’t set the NFL on fire since his arrival two seasons ago, but he certainly showed signs of improvement in Year 2 and the Jets were banking on him continuing on that road for Year 3. Part of a young players development (especially a quarterback) is spending the preseason meshing with his offensive teammates, not having surgery for a broken jaw dished out by a 6th round pick in 2014.
The player who sent Smith to the sidelines, linebacker IK Enemkpali, was immediately released and Bowles said it was up to Smith if he wants to press criminal charges against him. Enemkpali was no angel who just snapped, either. He was convicted of battery on a police officer back in college, yet the Jets drafted him anyways. Whoops. As the NFL starts to weigh a player’s character more and more (see Aldon Smith, Ray Rice, Ray McDonald and many, many more), will an incident like this cause a team to pass on a player because of a history of violence? I’m sure the Jets were thinking something along the lines of: if he messes up again, we can just cut him and be done with him. But now, the slip-ups aren’t happening away from the field and they are directly tied to the success of the team in the regular season. Enemkpali’s days in the NFL are probably numbered, but hopefully his behavior won’t cost another player a second chance that they actually deserved. Here’s to Geno Smith’s quick recovery! No player deserves to have his career altered by a sucker punch over $600.