The latest New York Jets addition spent five seasons in San Francisco, the last four under new head coach Robert Saleh.
Jets signed former 49ers’ DE Ronald Blair, per source. Blair is reunited in NY with Jets’ HC Robert Saleh.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) June 1, 2021
When it comes to his first roster as a head coach, things look a little more familiar for New York Jets boss Robert Saleh this week.
Per a report from ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Jets have signed former San Francisco 49er Ronald Blair. The Appalachian State alum joined the league as a fifth-round pick in 2016 and has spent the last four seasons under the watch of Saleh, then a defensive coordinator in the Bay Area.
Blair burst on the national football scene by ending his career in Boone with the 2015 Sun Belt Defensive Player of the Year award (previously won by Demarcus Ware). He earned 88 tackles (including 13 sacks) over his five seasons with the 49ers, partaking in 47 games (2 starts). His best statistical season came in 2018 when he put 36 tackles (10 for a loss, 5.5 sacks).
While Blair has proven himself to be a reliable depth option, injuries have taken over his career. His last NFL regular season action came in November 2019, as he missed both the 49ers’ run to Super Bowl LIV and all of last season after tearing his ACL.
Saleh and the Jets have made a bit of a point to avoid oversaturating the roster with former 49ers, as only reserve receiver Matt Cole has officially joined this season. But Saleh routinely bestowed praise upon Blair during their shared tenure in red and gold, so it was thus no surprise that the Jets had some interest.
“If you like winning, you like Ronnie. If you don’t, you don’t,” Saleh said in September 2019, per Jacob Hutchinson of KNBR. “He’s just a model of consistency…I love Ronnie. I’ve gushed about him up here and I can do it for another 15 minutes if you all like. You guys know how I feel about him.”
“He looked fantastic and he’s looked like that, to me, his entire career, it just goes unnoticed when he’s not the big name, he’s not the big draft pick. But, he’s your lunch pail, gets things done, makes things work, gets people lined up. He does it all. I’m happy we have him. He’s a playmaker. People have never noticed it.”
[[UPDATE: 6/1/21, 8:55 A.M. ET]]: The Jets confirmed the signing of Blair, likewise announcing the waiving of fellow defensive lineman Sharif Finch in a corresponding move.
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags