Rex Ryan and the Buffalo Bills made some waves Wednesday when they claimed linebacker IK Enemkpali off waivers just one day after he punched New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith and broke his jaw.
But it turns out the Bills head coach has full confidence in his former player.
Ryan asked his team to welcome Inemkpali after practice Wednesday, telling them he “wouldn’t bring him here if (he) didn’t think he could really come in and fit in with (them),” per SI.com’s Jenny Vrentas. Ryan even gave Enemkpali a ringing endorsement to the Bills’ front office.
“All he does is shut his mouth and work,” Ryan told GM Ryan Whaley. “I’ll stand on the table for the guy.”
Ryan said he never had any problems with Enemkpali in the linebacker’s one year with the Jets, which also was the coach’s final season with the team. Bills defensive coordinator Dennis Thurman, who also coached Enemkpali in New York, vouched for him, too.
“We like him,” Thurman told Vrentas. “We’ll get him here, and we’ll corral him, and we’ll surround him with our veterans and make sure we address the things we need to address. There can be no more missteps. Obviously there is a risk that we are taking, but for the talent he has, at this point we’re willing to gamble.”
Enemkpali was introduced to the Buffalo media Thursday, and he apologized for the incident with Smith, saying he should have walked away from it.
“I’m very grateful, thankful and happy to be a Bill,” Enemkpali said, per the team’s Twitter account. “I look forward to being a good teammate.”
Thumbnail photo via Mark Konezny/USA TODAY Sports Images