CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Jets will have some long-distance fans rooting for them Sunday against the Panthers.
The family of Greg Knapp, the Jets assistant coach who tragically died in July after being struck by a car while riding his bike, now has a special connection to the team and will be watching what they do this year.
“The Knapp Family is pulling for the Jets,” Knapp’s widow Charlotte said in an email.
Charlotte Knapp said her family will be at MetLife Stadium next Sunday for the home opener against the Patriots. Knapp was hired in January as the passing game coordinator by new Jets head coach Robert Saleh. The Jets will wear a “GK” sticker on their helmets in his honor this season.
Charlotte said the family will have a particular interest in how rookie quarterback Zach Wilson develops. Knapp was one of the driving forces behind the Jets drafting Wilson and was the main voice in his ear during the spring.
“Greg was extremely high on Zach,” Charlotte said. “He was his top choice from early on in the draft process. He believed in Zach. We’ll be pulling for Zach and hope that Greg had a positive impact on the start of his career.
“We are all very grateful to coach Saleh and the entire Jets’ organization for their support,” she said. “They have been amazing.”
Charlotte wanted to thank the Jets organization for their support.
Offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur will be calling plays for the first time in the NFL on Sunday, and he’ll do it from the sideline. LaFleur and Saleh had debated whether he would be on the sideline or in the coaches’ booth, but LaFleur did the three preseason games from the sideline and he said that is where he’ll be Sunday.
“[I] feel really good down on the sideline, just to be able to be face to face with the quarterbacks and basically the whole offense so, unless, I guess, Saleh wants me to go back upstairs, I’ll probably be downstairs,” LaFleur said.
The team placed S Sharrod Neasman on IR Saturday. S Adrian Colbert and LB Del’Shawn Phillips were added to the active roster.
Saleh’s pregame ceremony of running the stadium stairs always gets attention from the media. There figures to be video of him running the stairs here on Sunday morning before his first regular-season game as Jets coach. How did the tradition start?
“I’ve been doing it since I was a GA at my first job,” Saleh said. “I was looking for something to do pregame when I was still young, and in a lot better shape. I was trying to get a workout in, and there’s no workout equipment and I wanted something difficult. So, I started running stadiums in college, and I just started doing it in the NFL when I got here. So, it’s been over 20 years now.”