Jets' Robert Saleh Tests Positive for COVID-19 Ahead of Week 16 vs. Jaguars

Adam WellsDecember 22, 2021

New York Jets head coach Robert Saleh watches the team warm up before an NFL football game against the Miami Dolphins, Sunday, Dec. 19, 2021, in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/WIlfredo Lee)
AP Photo/WIlfredo Lee

New York Jets head coach Robert Saleh's status for Sunday's game versus the Jacksonville Jaguars is unclear after a positive COVID-19 test. 

Per Brian Costello of the New York Post, Jets tight ends coach Ron Middleton will run Wednesday's practice in Saleh's stead. 

ESPN's Rich Cimini added that Saleh is experiencing symptoms, but he could return as soon as Thursday with a negative test. 

Per Cimini, Middleton will serve as head coach against the Jaguars if Saleh doesn't clear protocols.

The Jets are among the NFL teams with a growing list of players and coaches dealing with COVID-19 concerns. 

Per SNY's Ralph Vacchiano, Saleh is the 15th member of the Jets who is currently unavailable to the team. 

Joey Chandler of NJ.com noted the NFL reported a single-day season-high 51 positive COVID-19 cases on Monday. 

During a conference call with reporters Monday, Saleh said at least six of his players currently on the reserve/COVID-19 list have a chance to play against the Jaguars:

"Foley [Folorunso Fatukasi], obviously, he's from the weekend. Tanzel Smart, JFM [John Franklin-Myers], [Sharrod] Neasman, Lamar Jackson and Vyncint [Smith]. They still have a chance to make it this week, they've got to go through the protocol with regards to asymptomatic plus two negatives and all that stuff, whatever the protocols are. But that's where we're at."

The league had to reschedule three games on the Week 15 schedule as a result of coronavirus outbreaks. 

There is no indication right now that any of the games scheduled for this weekend are at risk of being delayed. 

Saleh is in his first season as Jets head coach. He spent the previous four seasons as defensive coordinator for the San Francisco 49ers on Kyle Shanahan's staff.

The Jets enter Week 16 in last place in the AFC East with a 3-11 record. They will host the Jaguars on Sunday at 1 p.m. ET.