I believe it was Vince Lombardi who said:
Football is not a contact sport. Dancing is a contact sport. Football is a collision sport.
In the course of participating in football as a collision sport, players incur injuries in a variety of ways. Jets’ QB, Geno Smith, just incurred an injury off the field when his jaw collided with the fist of IK Enemkpali who, up until that moment of collision, was a linebacker for the Jets. The first reports said it was a “sucker punch” provoked by Smith’s delay in reimbursing Enemkpali $600 that Smith said he would give to the linebacker. The background here is not important; what is important is:
Enemkpali was cut by the Jets and just signed with the Bills who, coincidentally, are now coached by Rex Ryan who coached the Bills last year and who play the Jets twice each year.
Smith is out 6-10 weeks with a broken jaw. That makes Ryan Fitzpatrick the starter on the depth chart for now and, frankly, that is not such a huge step down from Geno Smith. However, if Fitzpatrick goes down, things could unravel quickly for the Jets this year.
According to a report in the NY Daily News this morning, a “Jets’ source” said that Smith deserved what he got not because of his late payment of the $600 but because he was in Enemkpali’s face pointing at him and perhaps even poking him. If that is the case – and I have no way to know if it is –, then Geno Smith is dumber than toast. None of that would raise the level of Enemkpali’s behavior beyond the level of moronic. Even at the Pop Warner level, players know that they should not purposely take out their own starting QB.
The weirdness of this situation calls to mind three other football players who incurred injuries outside the field of play in strange ways:
Just recently, Jason Pierre-Paul blew off a finger or three playing with fireworks.
Outside a nightclub at about 2:00 AM, Plaxico Burress felt the need to brandish a handgun – an improperly registered one at that – leading to Burress shooting himself in the leg.
In the Jags’ locker room the coach had placed a large tree stump and an axe and told players that the motto for the team for that season was to “Keep choppin’ wood.” Punter, Chris Hanson, took all of this very seriously and picked up the axe to chop a bit of the wood. The axe ricocheted off the stump and sliced into Hanson’s leg seriously enough to require surgery and to keep Hanson out for the season.
Football is a collision sport indeed. Nevertheless, players find ways to injure themselves rather seriously outside the game too…
One final note relevant to the Jets and their QB situation came when Jared Lorenzen – you remember him as The Pillsbury Throwboy and/or The Hefty Lefty – tweeted that he was available for the Jets and that he already looked good in green. That is the color of his uniform in an Indoor Football League where he is playing QB at something like 320 bills.
I realize that trying to apply logic to the sequence of events related to the NFL’s desire to put a team or teams in the LA market is a futile exercise and that the only thing that matters is “league revenue”. Having said that, there are strange doings in that arena:
There was evidently a law in St. Louis and/or Missouri that required a referendum before the city and or state could shell out taxpayer money to upgrade the Rams’ stadium. That requirement meant the city/state could not meet the NFL deadline for proposing what they would do to keep the Rams in St. Louis. So the folks in charge went to court to get the law that was on the books declared too vague to enforce so that they could pledge taxpayer money without a referendum.
If that is not strange enough, they did that even though the Rams’ owner does not want to stay in St. Louis and would prefer to spend lots of his own money to build a stadium in Inglewood, CA.
The city fathers in San Diego – after fiddling around with the Chargers on stadium matters for about 10 years – came up with a plan to spend about $400M taxpayer dollars on a new stadium for the Chargers in a location that the Chargers have deemed unacceptable for at least the last 5 years.
The only sane behavior by city officials comes out of Oakland where the city has not even tried to finance a new stadium for the Raiders for the very simple reason that Oakland does not have that kind of money to throw around. So, the Raiders are faced with this situation:
A. They stay in Oakland and play in an outdated and dilapidated stadium where the drains back up once in a while putting raw sewage on the locker room floors.
B. The NFL grants them permission to move to Carson, CA as joint tenants with the Chargers.
C. The NFL grants them permission to move somewhere else where a new stadium might materialize – think San Antonio or Las Vegas.
Paramount in all of these maneuverings is a strong desire on the part of the NFL that it not be the target of any serious lawsuits by cities that lose teams and/or cities that believe they should have gotten a team if the selection process had been “fair”. The saga continues…
Finally, here is a note from Greg Cote of the Miami Herald from about a month ago related to another lawsuit brought against the NFL.
“A federal court ruling said NFL cheerleaders deserve to earn at least the minimum wage. Thank goodness these women will finally be paid commensurate with the valuable public service they provide.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………