New York Jets assistant coach Greg Knapp passes away at 58

New York Jets
ORCHARD PARK, NY - DECEMBER 29: A general view of a New York Jets helmet before a game against the Buffalo Bills at New Era Field on December 29, 2019 in Orchard Park, New York. Jets beat the Bills 13 to 6. (Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images)

Knapp, an NFL coaching staple since 1997, was set to be the New York Jets’ passing game coordinator after three years in Atlanta.

The New York Jets confirmed the passing of assistant coach Greg Knapp on Thursday afternoon. Knapp, 58, was critically injured when he was struck by a vehicle while riding his bike over the weekend in San Ramon, CA.

“Today at 11:32 am PST, Greg Knapp (aka Knapper) was called back home to Heaven, where he will be reunited with his Dad,” the Knapp family wrote in a statement on the Jets’ website. “Those of us who were so blessed to have known him, know that he would have wanted even this moment to be a teachable one. So this is it…”Live every day as if it’s your last, and love those around you like it won’t last!”

“Greg’s infectious personality is most people’s first and lasting memory of him. The phrase “He never met a stranger” encapsulates Knapper’s zest for life. He had a unique gift to make everyone feel special, and to Knapper, they all were. While his family, friends, and players still had so much to learn from him and desperately wished they had more time with him, God called an audible and wanted to go over the game plan directly with him. It will certainly be a masterpiece, just like Greg!”

Knapp was set to join the Jets after three seasons with the Atlanta Falcons as the quarterbacks coach. He had been a staple on NFL coaching staffs since 1997 after a record-breaking career as a passer at Sacramento State. His time in the league included offensive coordinator stints in San Francisco (2001-03), Atlanta (2004-06), Oakland (2007-08, 2012), and Seattle (2009).

Through his coaching endeavors, Knapp is perhaps best known for his time as the Denver Broncos’ quarterbacks coach, working with Peyton Manning during one of the most illustrious statistical seasons in NFL history (5,477 yards and 55 touchdown passes during the 2013 campaign). Two years later, he became a Super Bowl champion, partaking in the Broncos’ triumph over Carolina in the game’s 50th edition. Other quarterbacks who worked under Knapp included Steve Young, Jeff Garcia, Michael Vick, and Matt Ryan.

Tributes poured in from both the Jets spectrum and across the league after news of Knapp’s passing broke.

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“In his short time with us, Greg had an immediate influence on those who had the pleasure of spending the smallest amount of time with him,” Jets chairman Woody Johnson said. “His legacy is not only working with some of the brightest quarterbacks the league has ever seen, but the countless others across this world he has had an indelibly positive influence on.”

“He lived life in a loving way that helped him connect with people from all walks of life in a unique way,” head coach Robert Saleh added. “Greg had such an inner peace about him that people always seemed to gravitate towards.”

Knapp is survived by his wife Charlotte and their three daughters Jordan, Natalie, and Camille. Well-wishers are encouraged to post here.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags