IK Enemkpali, the linebacker who was cut by the Jets today for breaking the jaw of quarterback Geno Smith with a locker room sucker punch, has a history of violence that the Jets were aware of when they drafted him.
In college at Louisiana Tech, Enemkpali was arrested for battery on a police officer. Enemkpali was eventually sentenced to probation for simple battery. At the time that the Jets drafted him, Enemkpali said he had learned from the experience.
“I was just being a young. [It was] a young, hot-headed decision,” Enemkpali said last year. “I didn’t think about everything. If I knew what I know now, I would’ve gotten myself out of that situation. I lost my cool. That’s what it was. I didn’t know he was undercover, which is no excuse, but . . . Yeah, I lost my cool.”
If the Jets knew what they know now, they wouldn’t have drafted Enemkpali. Teams take chances on players with character red flags all the time, and sometimes those risks come back to bite the team. That’s certainly the case with the Jets, who are now without their starting quarterback for the beginning of the regular season.
Jets coach Todd Bowles indicated that cutting Enemkpali was an easy decision.
“IK is gone,” Bowles said. “It’s something we don’t tolerate, something we can’t stand. You don’t walk up to another man and punch him in the face.”
Bowles declined to explain what led to the punch, but he said he was disappointed in his players that they weren’t mature enough to talk through their differences.
“It’s something very childish that sixth graders could have talked about,” Bowles said.
But the Jets’ locker room lacked the maturity of a sixth-grade class. As a result, Enemkpali is gone, and Smith is having his jaw surgically repaired.