New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith will be out for six to 10 weeks after teammate IK Enemkpali punched him in the locker room, breaking his jaw.
The incident occurred Tuesday morning and Smith’s injury will require surgery, Bowles said. Bowles described it as a “sucker punch” and Enemkpali has been released. Bowles told reporters Tuesday that Enemkpali, a reserve linebacker, would have been released even if he were a starter.
Bowles also said Smith was never unconscious, did not put his hands on Enemkpali, and will have surgery “very soon.” He emphasized that in any fight, both players have a role, and that something had likely been brewing between the two and it was not a random incident. “I didn't say Geno was innocent,” Bowles said. “I just said it was childish.”
Mike Garafolo of Fox Sports reported earlier Tuesday that the punch came after Smith put his finger in Enemkpali’s face during an argument. NFL Network's Albert Breer reports the fight was over money.
Geno Smith: "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."— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) August 11, 2015
Smith’s injury leaves the Jets with three healthy quarterbacks: Ryan Fitzpatrick, rookie fourth-round pick Bryce Petty and undrafted rookie Jake Heaps, listed on the depth chart in that order. Bowles said in a press conference Tuesday afternoon that Fitzpatrick would be the starter for the time being.
Smith, entering his third season in the NFL, started 13 games for the Jets last season. He started the first eight games of the season, was benched in favor of Michael Vick and started the last five games after Vick was injured. Vick was not re-signed by the Jets after the season.
- Dan Gartland and Jeremy Woo