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23 Jul, 2021 10:01

‘The league has lost a good man’: NFL reacts as New York Jets coach Greg Knapp dies following biking accident

‘The league has lost a good man’: NFL reacts as New York Jets coach Greg Knapp dies following biking accident

The NFL world is in mourning today after the death was confirmed of New York Jets' highly-respected coach Greg Knapp, who died at the age of 58 just days after his bicycle was hit by a car in California.

Knapp, who was hired as the Jets' passing co-ordinator in January, received serious injuries in the July 17 accident in San Ramon, California, when he was hit by a motorist, and had been in a critical condition in hospital since then before passing away on Thursday.

According to initial reports, the driver of the car swerved into a bike lane and hit Knapp who was badly injured in the accident.

The driver is understood to be co-ordinating with the authorities, and had attempted to give medical aid to Knapp at the scene.

"Today at 11.32 am PST, Greg Knapp (aka Knapper) was called back home to heaven, where he will be reunited with his Dad," his agent, Jeff Sperbeck, announced.

"Greg's infectious personality is most people's first and lasting memory of him. The phrase 'He never met a stranger' encapsulates Knapper's zest for life.

"He had a unique gift to make everyone feel special – and, to Knapper, they all were.

"While his family, friends, and players still had so much to learn from him and desperately wished they had more time with him, god called an audible and wanted to go over the game plan directly with him. It will certainly be a masterpiece, just like Greg."

After a successful collegiate career, Knapp had become known as one of the NFL's most dependable and respected coaches.

He was employed by several teams in the league after initially being appointed as offensive quality control coach for the San Francisco 49ers in 1995, eventually going on to various other coaching roles with the likes of the Atlanta Falcons, Houston Texans and the Denver Broncos, among others, before signing with the Jets earlier this year, where he had been tasked with overseeing the development of their much-hyped quarterback prospect Zach Wilson, who was selected with the second over pick in this year's NFL draft.

Knapp had a long history of guiding quarterbacks to glory, having previously coached the legendary Peyton Manning to a Super Bowl during his time with the Broncos.

He is survived by his wife Charlotte and their three daughters, Jordan, Natalie and Camille.

"RIP Greg Knapp," wrote NBC reporter Peter King. "We always say, 'What a nice guy.' In 37 years covering the NFL, I have Knapp in top 10 of both nice guys and QB coaches.

"When Texans GM Rick Smith asked Brock Osweiler what he could do to get him back to pre-Houston form after year one, Osweiler said, 'Hire Greg Knapp.'"

"Sorry to hear about Greg Knapp’s passing," added Ron Rivera, head coach of the Washington Football Team. "He developed some of the games' great quarterbacks – a tribute to him as a coach.

"My thoughts and prayers to his mother, wife and daughters. Gone way too soon. The league has lost a good man.

"The death of Greg Knapp is just unbelievably sad," added ESPN's Louis Riddick. "Hard to grasp. As a former avid biker myself that used to go out on long rides daily, it just hits home in so many ways that makes your heart break for his loved ones. Just awful."

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