Throughout the entirety of his tenure with the New York Jets, Buffalo Bills head coach Rex Ryan made a name for himself by constantly stirring the pot while exposing any possible methods of getting under the skin of his opponents.
This week, as Ryan prepares to return to MetLife Stadium for the first time since 2014 as the 4-4 Bills challenge the 5-3 Jets on the road, the circumstances are no different.
While naming the his captains for the week, Ryan opted to anoint linebacker IK Enemkpali to the position, the same player who in August was released from New York after sucker-punching Jets quarterback Geno Smith in the jaw over the signal-caller's inability to pay off a $600 debt that he owed Enemkpali.
Earning a four-game suspension for his brash action, which sidelined Smith for the first seven weeks of the season with a broken jaw while costing the West Virginia product his chance at competing for the starting job with New York quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, Enemkpali was released by Jets head coach Todd Bowles before Ryan signed him immediately following the transaction.
After serving his suspension to begin the season, Enemkpali has received playing time primarily on special teams under Ryan, garnering two tackles in the Bills' 33-17 victory over the Miami Dolphins in Week 9.
Naming captains based solely on the opponent at hand is not unfamiliar territory for Ryan. Last week prior to Buffalo's contest against Miami, the audacious head coach handed captain duties to tight end Charles Clay, kicker Dan Carpenter and offensive lineman Richie Incognito, all former members of the Dolphins.
Keeping with the trend, Ryan will also send out tight end Matthew Mulligan, a former Jet, for coin-flip duties as well on Thursday night. Mulligan has recorded all of one catch for two yards in 2015.
Ryan told USA Today, “Yeah, I’ll get ripped or whatever. [They] will be out there because you put them out there to recognize their teammates and all that, their former teammates.”