The Buffalo Bills claimed linebacker IK Enemkpali off waivers on Aug. 12. The New York Jets released Enemkpali on Tuesday after he punched quarterback Geno Smith in the jaw over a $600 dispute.
The Buffalo Bills have claimed IK Enemkpali off waivers.
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The team announced this via an official press release on BuffaloBills.com:
"The Buffalo Bills announced that the team claimed and was awarded LB IK Enemkpali (prounonced EYE-KAY IN-em-PALL-ee).
"Enemkpali entered the NFL in 2014 as a sixth-round (210th overall) draft pick of the New York Jets. The 6-1, 261-pound Louisiana Tech product appeared in six games as a rookie last, recording three tackles on special teams.
"Enemkpali, 24, is a native of Pflugerville, TX."
A league source confirmed the Bills claiming Enemkpali to NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport. NFL.com's Gregg Rosenthal reported this on Wednesday.
Buffalo Bills head coach Rex Ryan called the shots for the Jets when they drafted Enemkpali a year ago.
The Jets dismissed Enemkpali on Tuesday. He punched Geno Smith's jaw during a locker room altercation, per ESPN's Mike Rodak.
Enemkpali wanted Smith to give him a refund of $600. Enemkpali purchased a plane ticket for Smith so he can attend his football camp in Texas. Smith was unable to go because his close friend died in an accident, per ESPN.
Smith promised Enemkpali he would reimburse him. He had not as of Tuesday morning. Rodak says that was when Enemkpali broke Smith's jaw.
A witness saw Smith pointing his finger in Enemkpali's face before he got punched, per ESPN.
Rodak says the NFL could discipline Enemkpali for violating its personal conduct policy. Smith could also press criminal charges against him.
Ryan explained to Rodak why the Bills claimed Enemkpali:
"We all know what happened and things like that. Obviously, it was a terrible thing that happened. But IK made a mistake, there's no question about that. But instead of listening to this person, that person or whatever -- we had IK last year. A lot of us were around IK, and he was a good teammate.
"If we didn't think this young man or anybody else would be successful on the football field, in our locker room or in the community, he would not be here. And I know I've said that before about other people, but I mean it.
"I think (Bills owner Terry Pagula) has confidence in our beliefs, and in this case, Doug is showing a lot of faith in me as well. That we specifically, guys that have been with IK, believe that he can be successful here.
"I do have supreme confidence in myself, especially when I know the individual. Some of these guys that have these so-called issues or whatever, everybody's got things. But if I know that person, and I feel confident in the fact that my locker room, that this guy will be successful in there, then yeah, I feel confident that he'll fit right in.
"They know...look, not everybody is perfect. You can look at every person in that locker room. Not everybody is perfect. Nobody is perfect. But they know that I feel in my heart that this young man will be successful for us."
Ryan told ESPN he believes Enemkpali will learn from the experience. The Bills head coach is also confident his acquisition won't disrupt team chemistry:
"I think it's clear that it was a mistake. There's no question. Nothing justifies hitting somebody and all that stuff. And I'm not trying to say it wasn't a mistake. But I also believe that he's gonna learn from this.
"I'm not concerned with anybody else's locker room. I feel great about my locker room, our locker room. So I can tell you that much. But about anybody else's or whatever...number one, that's not for me to say.
"It's certainly not fair to judge anybody else's. I'm not in there."
Enemkpali is just one of the controversial figures in the Bills' roster.
Buffalo signed offensive lineman Richie Incognito during the offseason. He was at the center of the Miami Dolphins bullying scandal involving Jonathan Martin.
The Bills also signed wide receiver Percy Harvin. He has had locker-room issues with teammates in his NFL career, per The New York Times' Ben Shpigel.
Harvin played for Ryan with the Jets. Ryan's other former players in the Bills roster are John Conner, Matthew Mulligan and Matt Simms, per Shpigel.
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