Geno Smith was at the center of one of the NFL’s strangest incidents last month as he was sucker-punched by former teammate IK Enemkpali in the locker room. The New York Jets quarterback suffered a broken jaw and is expected to miss the first four weeks of the regular season, leaving Ryan Fitzpatrick to lead what was once "his team."
Obviously, Smith isn’t pleased and is still angry about the punch, yet he hasn’t pressed charges against Enemkpali. On Wednesday, he expressed his frustration to reporters in the Jets locker room.
"I’m extremely (angry)," Smith told Newsday. "But I have to keep my temper down. I can’t exhibit that in the locker room. I can’t exhibit that on a daily basis. I just feel for my family more because they enjoy seeing me out there."
Article continues below ...
Smith was the presumed starter heading into the season. Fitzpatrick played well in the team’s first regular-season game, and if he continues to lead the Jets like he has, Smith may not return to the starting lineup when he is healthy.
"You know what? I’m on the team," Smith said. "The guys look at me as a leader. Whether it’s my team or not, it’s (owner Woody Johnson’s) team. It’s coach Bowles’ team. And it’s a trickle-down effect. You want to say, OK, it’s Fitz’s team? But that’s kind of pinning me and him against each other. We’re all in this thing together. It’s a collective bond, and it was that way when I was projected the starter and when I got hurt it was that way. And right now it’s the same way."
Smith, who hasn’t had the most success in his time in the league, is mostly frustrated by the circumstances that landed him on the bench. It wasn’t poor play — it was an unheard-of occurrence.
"If I was playing bad and got benched, that’s on me," he said. "But for something like that to happen, it’s like … What can you do? You’ve just got to, kind of, weather the storm and move on from there."