IK Enemkpali plays in Bills' preseason opener

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Two days after being claimed off waivers from the New York Jets, IK Enemkpali played Friday night in the Buffalo Bills' preseason-opening 25-24 loss to the Carolina Panthers.

Part of the Bills' second-team defense, Enemkpali entered the game late in the second quarter. He finished with three tackles, including one for a loss, and was called for an offside penalty.

After the game, Enemkpali answered questions from reporters for the first time since being released Tuesday by the Jets after punching quarterback Geno Smith in the face, breaking his jaw.

"It's just been a whirlwind," Enemkpali said of his week. "It's just been a whirlwind. But it's all been fun."

The Bills did not allow reporters to ask questions about Enemkpali's altercation with Smith. A team spokesperson said Enemkpali "stood by" his brief statement he gave Thursday, apologizing for the incident.

Asked whether he thought his career was over prior to being claimed by the Bills, Enemkpali responded, "I really don't want to get into all that."

Jets coach Todd Bowles called it a "sucker punch," although sources told ESPN that Smith might have provoked Enemkpali by pointing a finger in his face. They were arguing over $600 that Smith owed to Enemkpali, sources told ESPN.

Smith needed surgery to repair the broken jaw, and he could be out six to 10 weeks.

Asked whether he was surprised how quickly he was picked up by the Bills, Enemkpali responded, "Blessed. It was a blessing. It was a true blessing."

Enemkpali lined up as a defensive end in Rex Ryan's defense after being listed as a linebacker with the Jets.

"It was good," Enemkpali said of his Bills debut. "Everybody was walking in, everybody was talking to me, everybody just treated me like I've been here. So that's what I like. Even on the sideline, we were just talking, having fun, my teammates."

Information from ESPN Jets reporter Rich Cimini contributed to this report.