The New York Jets have announced that they have reached an agreement in principle with Robert Saleh to become the new head coach. This news will make the former San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator the first Muslim to head an NFL team.
The New York Jets announced the news on Thursday night, tweeted this message on their official Twitter handle:
“We’ve reached an agreement in principle with Robert Saleh to become our head coach,” the Jets said in a statement.
Robert Saleh has spent the past four years in Santa Clara, California, transforming the 49ers’ defense from a onetime laughingstock to one of football’s most elite units.
He’ll take over a team that won just two of 16 games this past season and hasn’t made the playoffs since the 2010-11 campaign. The Jets have just one Super Bowl title in franchise history, the famed Joe Namath guarantee of Jan. 12, 1969.
Before Robert Saleh, 41, a native of Dearborn, Michigan, was hired by the Jets, no Muslim had ever been an NFL head coach, according to the Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR, a Muslim civil rights advocacy group.
“We welcome this development as another sign of the increasing inclusion and recognition of American Muslims in our diverse society,” CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper said in a statement late Thursday.