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Jets owner calls report on argument with Saleh ‘absolutely false’


Jets owner calls report on argument with Saleh ‘absolutely false’

New York Jets owner Woody Johnson used social media Thursday to refute a claim by an NFL Network host that he and coach Robert Saleh engaged in a “very heated conversation” earlier this week at the NFL’s annual league meetings in Orlando, Florida.

“All this nonsense about a heated argument between Coach Saleh and me at the league meeting is absolutely false,” Johnson said on X. “It is yet another irresponsible report from NFL Network. Please disregard.”

It’s unusual for Johnson, 76, to respond in this manner, but he evidently felt compelled after a comment by NFL Network’s Colleen Wolfe gained traction late Wednesday.

On the “Around the NFL” podcast, Wolfe said she heard about the alleged Johnson-Saleh dispute from a “very reliable source.” She said it occurred at the NFL’s cocktail reception on Monday night at the Ritz Carlton Hotel, which hosted the NFL’s league meetings. She provided no other details.

The reception was a jam-packed event that included hundreds of NFL types — owners, executives, head coaches and their families — along the media members. A person close to the Jets’ contingent said there was no heated conversation between Saleh and Johnson at any point during the evening, which included a private dinner with the two men and other Jets officials.

The Johnson-Saleh relationship has been under the microscope since the end of the season — a disappointing 7-10 campaign for the Jets. The tension around the team escalated in early February, when Johnson, speaking to reporters at the NFL Honors in Las Vegas, put everyone in the organization on alert by saying he expected a big improvement in 2024.

Johnson said Saleh and general manager Joe Douglas have “seen me about as mad as I can be with what was going on. … We have all this talent, and we have to deploy talent properly. So, I think they all got the message. This is it. This is the time to go. We’ve got to produce this year.” On Monday morning, Saleh addressed reporters for the first time since the end of the season.

Asked about Johnson’s pointed comments from February, Saleh told reporters: “Woody provides a lot of good insight, he really does. Regardless of what the tone may or may not be, the important thing is the message, and he’s delivered a lot of really thoughtful, good messages that have helped us progress, especially during this offseason.

“It’ll help us during the season. So, his words are always welcome. He’s the owner of the football team and his frustrations are shared with everyone.”

The Jets have gone 13 straight seasons without making the playoffs, the longest drought for any team in the four major sports leagues in North America. They began last season with Super Bowl aspirations, but everything unraveled when quarterback Aaron Rodgers tore his left Achilles on the fourth play of the season.

In Orlando, Johnson said he’s “pretty impressed” with the team’s offseason.

“I like to win games, like a lot of other owners do,” he said. “Losing games is not why we’re in it. We’re in it to win games, both the players and the fans. So, we want to win games and we’re trying to put a team together. I think we’ve made some really good progress in putting a team together to make that happen.”

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