The NFL fans get to witness a lot of entertainment and drama throughout the season. Sometimes it’s because of the love lives of the players, other times it’s because of the beef between the players. The same happened between two New York Jets stars a few years ago. The fight between their defensive end IK Enemkpali and QB Geno Smith is probably the ugliest in the league’s history.
On August 11, 2015, the Jets were peacefully sweating out to prepare for their preseason games. However, the peace was soon gone when their 6th-round pick Enemkpali sucker-punched their star player Geno Smith.
It all happened in the team’s locker room during the practice session. The 32-year-old’s punch was so bad that Smith got his jaw broken badly.
Jets QB Geno Smith will miss 6-10 week after a sucker-punch from teammate IK Enemkpali in locker room broke his jaw http://t.co/YPYceJbW8Z
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) August 11, 2015
When Jets’ then-coach Todd Bowles entered the locked room, he was reportedly shocked with the view. He immediately called for a press conference to address the matter publicly. Everyone was shocked at the 59-year-old coach’s sudden action. However, when he revealed that the 6-foot-3 QB would miss at least 6 weeks, it was an even bigger shock. After that, the team released Enemkpali immediately, almost ending his career.
Born in July 1991, Enemkpali made his biggest mistake when he punched Geno Smith. The defensive end didn’t know that his anger would finish his whole NFL career just a year after it began.
What happened between Geno Smith and IK Enemkpali in the locker room?
IK Enemkpali joined the Jets as their 210th pick in 2014, a year after Geno Smith entered the team. When the sucker punch incident happened between the two, the team decided to zip their mouths.
Instead of giving the details, they just mentioned that it happened over $600. As per ESPN, both Smith and Enemkpali refused to give interviews on the topic.
Reports suggested that the defensive end had invited Geno Smith to a youth football camp in Texas. The Pro Bowl accepted the offer but didn’t show up due to some unknown reasons. Enemkpali, on the other hand, allegedly spent $1200 on plane tickets and hotel.
So, the two-star players reportedly decided to split the cost and Smith was expected to pay $600 to the DE. However, as per their teammates, the Florida-born QB hadn’t paid it till the day of the fight.
According to reports, the former Giants QB had to go through surgery for his jaw. Enemkpali’s sucker punch had broken Smith’s jaw in two places. After the incident, the Texas-born DE released a statement of apology. He mentioned his “regret” and claimed that it wasn’t his “intention to harm anyone”.
“I apologize to the Jets organization, coaches, teammates and fans… Geno and I let our frustration get the best of us, but I should have just walked away from the situation. I deeply regret and apologize for my actions. It was never my intention to harm anyone. I appreciate the opportunity I had with the Jets,” he said.
It was obvious that the star defensive end realized his mistake. However, he still couldn’t get their lost careers back. After changing teams twice, his career ended in 2017.
Geno Smith’s phenomenal comeback to the game after 7 years
Geno Smith has been among the best quarterbacks in the NFL. The New York Jets drafted him as their 39th pick in the 2nd round of the 2013 NFL draft. Born in October 1990, Smith has exhibited exceptional gameplay throughout his 10-year NFL career. IK Enemkpali’s sucker punch surely destroyed 7 years of his career, but the QB didn’t give up.
The NFL star made his comeback last year and everyone was impressed with his performance yet again. After the Jets, he went to the Giants and then to the Los Angeles Chargers. However, he got his lost shine back after he went to the Seattle Seahawks in 2019.
Last year was nothing less than impressive for Geno Smith. The star quarterback got to his first Pro Bowl in his 10-year career. With his stellar performance, he became the completion percentage lead as well in 2022. Moreover, Smith won the NFL Comeback Player of the Year as well last year.
Throughout his career, Geno Smith has completed 1,063 out of his 1,681 passing attempts. With this, he has an overall passing percentage of 63.2%. The Seahawks star has recorded 68 TDs and 49 interceptions for 11,935 yards. He also has 9 rushing touchdowns for 1,089 rushing yards.
Geno Smith has proved that even a long break from the game couldn’t stop him. With his passion and dedication, the QB overcame all the obstacles. Now, he has been playing with the Seahawks and must be looking forward to leading the team to the Super Bowl this season.