(Reuters) - The Buffalo Bills claimed IK Enemkpali off waivers on Wednesday, one day after the linebacker was released by the New York Jets for breaking starting quarterback Geno Smith’s jaw in a locker room scuffle, the team said.
First-year Bills head coach Rex Ryan is well acquainted with Enemkpali, having drafted the former Louisiana Tech player in the sixth round of the 2014 NFL draft when Ryan was the coach of the Jets.
The Jets said Smith will be lost for six to 10 weeks after suffering two fractures in his jaw when Enemkpali punched him. Jets head coach Todd Bowles on Tuesday said Smith was “sucker-punched” by Enemkpali and called Enemkpali’s actions intolerable.
Citing sources, ESPN reported that Smith had accepted a $600 plane ticket from Enemkpali to appear at the linebacker’s football camp in Texas. Tensions surfaced when Smith did not show up at the camp, which took place days after someone close to Smith was killed in a motorcycle accident, ESPN reported.
Ryan, no stranger to controversial personnel moves, this offseason also signed offensive guard Richie Incognito, who was involved in a bullying scandal when he was a member of the Miami Dolphins.
Reporting by Steve Ginsburg in Washington; Editing by Will Dunham