New York Jets assistant coach Greg Knapp passes away at 58

New York Jets

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.

“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

New York Jets coach Greg Knapp in “critical condition” after bicycle accident

New York Jets

New York Jets head coach Robert Saleh has put out a statement following a bicycle accident that has left Knapp hospitalized.

New York Jets assistant coach Greg Knapp is in critical condition after he was hit by a motorist in California while riding his bike on Saturday. The news was first reported by Mike Klisof KUSA’s 9News in Denver.

A report from ESPN’s Rich Cimini claims that the incident occurred near Knapp’s home in Danville and that drug or alcohol did not play a role in the incident.

The 58-year-old Knapp was named the Jets’ passing game coordinator in January, preparing to work with a quarterback room headline by second overall pick Zach Wilson. Knapp’s family has released a statement through the Jets, as has Saleh.

“Greg is an amazing father and husband whose passion for life can be felt in all his interactions with people,” the Knapp family, consisting of Knapp’s wife Charlotte and their three children, said. “He is our rock and biggest supporter, pushing us to all strive to better ourselves each day with constant love and inspiration. While many know him for his achievements as a coach, his impact as a father and husband is far greater.”

“Greg is such an amazing individual it is hard to imagine the challenge facing him and his family,” Saleh added. “Greg’s fun nature, kind disposition, and wealth of knowledge has allowed him to make genuine connections with all of our coaches, players, and staff since he has been here.”

Knapp has been involved in NFL coaching since 1997. He is perhaps best known for his endeavors with the Denver Broncos, assisting in Peyton Manning’s strongest career numbers in 2013 and winning a Super Bowl two years later. Immediately prior to his New York hire, Knapp was the Atlanta Falcons’ quarterbacks coach.

ESM send its thoughts and prayers to the Knapp family and wishes him a full recovery.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

New York Jets: Robert Saleh’s staff reportedly taking shape

New York Jets

Robert Saleh has apparently wasted no time in assembling his New York Jets assistants, bringing some familiar faces in from San Francisco.

Per Michael Silver of Sports Illustrated, New York Jets head coach Robert Saleh is taking some of his colleagues across the country for an extended business trip.

Silver, SI’s San Francisco-based correspondent, Mike LaFleur and John Benton are joining Saleh in green. LaFleur will serve as the team’s offensive coordinator (a move first teased by ESPN’s Adam Schefter earlier this week) while Benton will reprise his role as an offensive line coach and also serve as the team’s run game coordinator. Silver has also reported that Saleh will also welcome in Greg Knapp and Rob Calabrese as the quarterbacks coach and a pass game specialist.

LaFleur spent the last four years in San Francisco as the team’s passing game coordinator, working alongside Jimmy Garoppollo during the latter’s first years as a full-time NFL starter. His first two years in the Bay Area also saw him work as the receivers coach. He previously partook in a Super Bowl trek during the 2016-17 season, working as an offensive assistant with the NFC champion Atlanta Falcons. LaFleur is the younger brother of Matt, who will compete for a Super Bowl appearance of his own as a head coach next Sunday in the NFC title game against Tampa Bay (3:05 p.m. ET, Fox).

Bento has been in the NFL for the past 19 seasons, including the last four alongside Saleh in San Francisco. His blocking unit was ranked ninth in Pro Football Focus’ offensive line rankings, earning particular praise for his work with Trent Williams, who was the analytical site’s top-graded left tackle after missing the entire 2019 season.

Knapp has been working in the NFL almost non-stop since 1997, taking only the 2017 season off. He spent the past three seasons with the Atlanta Falcons, helping Matt Ryan post the best numbers of his career since his 2016 MVP season. Other quarterbacks to work under Knapp include Steve Young, Jeff Garcia, Michael Vick, and Peyton Manning.

The hire of Calabrese is a bit of a local affair, as the 30-year-old is a native of Islip Terrace on Long Island, spending two seasons as the offensive coordinator at Wagner. His prior job with the Denver Broncos in offensive quality control was his first in the NFL after his time with the local Seahawks. Calabrese was in fact a contender to start at quarterback during Denver’s issues with COVID-19 leading up to their Week 12 contest against New Orleans, as the team lost all of their regular throwers due to protocols. He previously worked as the quarterback at East Islip High School, taking the program to heights previously experienced under future NFL star and current WFAN personality Boomer Esiason.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags