New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith returned to throwing over the weekend—just not yet with his teammates. Smith was seen tossing a football in the parking lot of his apartment complex in New Jersey, two days after undergoing surgery for a broken jaw.
“I feel great. You see me throwin’, right?" Smith told Amanda Lozado and Kathianne Boniello of the New York Post.
Smith's workout drew the ire of head coach Todd Bowles, who wasn't happy his quarterback was working out so soon after surgery, adding the team "dealt with it internally," according to Rich Cimini of ESPN.
Smith, 24, is expected to miss six to 10 weeks after surgery to fix a broken jaw suffered in a fight with former teammate IK Enemkpali. The third-year signal-caller refused to answer questions about the incident or whether he's received support from teammates in the aftermath.
While initially reported as a sucker punch, new details have emerged that paint Smith as being far from innocent. After promising to attend Enemkpali's football camp, Smith allegedly bailed due to a personal matter and then refused to repay the $600 Enemkpali had put down for his flight. The two then allegedly got into an argument about the cash, with Enemkpali decking Smith after being goaded.
“These guys were in each other’s face,” former NFL safety Ryan Clark said on ESPN Radio's Mike & Mike, per Sophia Rosenbaum of the New York Post. “Geno put his finger in his face and told the guy, ‘Well, you’re not going to do anything about it.’”
Enemkpali, who was released and subsequently picked up by the Buffalo Bills, has apologized for his part in the melee.
"I want to apologize to the Jets organization, the fans, my teammates and the coaches. I apologize for what happened," he told reporters. "It should've never happened. I should've walked away from the situation. It was never my intention to hurt anybody."
The second-year linebacker has said multiple Jets teammates have reached out since to see how he was holding up. Smith, meanwhile, has wound up worse for the wear, as his leadership has come under scrutiny in recent days.
"Failing to recognize his role as the team leader, Smith put himself in a bad spot by getting into a petty spat with Enemkpali over $600," Cimini wrote. "No one deserves a broken jaw, but his involvement in a 'very childish' altercation (Todd Bowles' description) reflects poorly on the quarterback."
It's not exactly a promising situation for Smith, whose first two NFL seasons have left much to be desired. He's thrown for 25 touchdowns against 34 interceptions in his first 30 pro games (29 starts), ranking 31st among 44 qualifying quarterbacks in Football Outsiders' DVOA last season. If backup Ryan Fitzpatrick gets the Jets off to a good start, a parking lot may be the only place Smith throws a football in 2015.
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