It took a couple of days, but new Buffalo Bills linebacker IK Enemkpali is apologizing for punching New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith and knocking him out of action for six to 10 weeks.
"I want to apologize to the Jets organization, the fans, my teammates and the coaches. I apologize for what happened. It should have never happened. I should have walked away from the situation. It was never my intentions to hurt anybody," Enemkpali told gathered media Thursday at the Bills' camp, as reported by NJ.com.
"I'm just very grateful to Rex Ryan and the Buffalo Bills organization for giving me the opportunity to further my career here in 2015," he added. "I'm very grateful and thankful and happy to be a Bill. I look forward to being a good teammate, accountable player and accountable teammate to this organization. I'm just happy to be here and thank you."
Enemkpali reportedly sucker-punched Smith inside the Jets' locker room Tuesday in an alleged argument over a $600 debt that the QB owed him. The blow broke Smith's jaw in two places.
The very next day, on Wednesday, the Bills claimed Enemkpali off waivers. Although some fans reasoned that Ryan only scooped up Enemkpali to spite the Jets — the team he coached from 2009-2014 — the first-year Bills coach said he genuinely thinks the linebacker can help the team.
"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," Ryan told reporters, including ESPN. "And I know I've said that before about other people, but I mean it. I think [owner Terry Pegula] has confidence in our beliefs, and in this case, [Bills general manager] Doug [Whaley] 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."
The NFL is reviewing the Enemkpali-Smith incident and could punish the linebacker under the league's personal conduct policy.
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(Photos from left: AP Photo/File, Grant Halverson/Getty Images)