(Reuters) - IK Enemkpali, a second-year linebacker who broke the jaw of New York Jets starting quarterback Geno Smith in a locker room scuffle, apologized on Thursday for the incident that he said “should have never happened.”
The Jets released Enemkpali on Wednesday, one day after the fight with Smith, who will be lost for six to 10 weeks after suffering two fractures of his jaw.
Enemkpali was claimed off waivers by the Buffalo Bills, whose first-year coach, Rex Ryan, had the reserve linebacker on his roster in 2014 when he coached the Jets.
”I want to apologize to the Jets organization, the fans, my teammates and the coaches,“ Enemkpali said in a statement. ”I apologize for what happened. It should have never happened.
“I should have walked away from the situation. It was never my intention to hurt anybody.”
The National Football League is “looking into” the situation for possible discipline against Enemkpali, a sixth-round selection of the Jets in the 2014 NFL draft, an NFL spokesman told Reuters.
Jets head coach Todd Bowles on Tuesday said Smith was “sucker-punched” and called Enemkpali’s actions intolerable.
“I’m very grateful and thankful and happy to be a Bill,” Enemkpali said. “I look forward to being a good teammate, an accountable player and an accountable teammate to this organization.”
Reporting by Steve Ginsburg in Washington; Editing by Eric Beech