Speaking at a charity event on Tuesday, per Christian Red of the New York Daily News, Namath made it clear he'd like to see Hackenberg beat out Josh McCown for the No. 1 quarterback job in New York:
"I know what Josh can do. He's solid. Never had a real good team to play with. Hopefully the team can step up and give him support. But I'd like to see Hackenberg get a shot, and I'd like to see him win the job if possible. That would give us, 'Maybe we don't do it this year, but boy we'll get ready next year.' I'm not wishing Josh any bad luck. But I certainly would like to see Hackenberg blossom."
The Jets drafted Christian Hackenberg with the 51st pick in 2016. He didn't see the field as a rookie despite the team going through three different starting quarterbacks during a 5-11 season.
This offseason has seen the Jets make some changes at quarterback. Ryan Fitzpatrick is a free agent and unlikely to be brought back. Geno Smith signed with the New York Giants as a free agent. McCown was brought in to compete for the starting job, along with Bryce Petty.
Hackenberg will likely start training camp as the Jets' third-string quarterback, behind McCown and Petty. He will have to do a lot of work to impress head coach Todd Bowles to be in the conversation for a starting job, but at least he has one big show of support from a Jets legend.