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Jets Owner Woody Johnson Denies Argument With Robert Saleh

Woody Johnson (Via NFL/Twitter)

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

Initially, she said it occurred at the NFL’s cocktail reception Monday night at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, which hosted the NFL’s league meetings. Later in the podcast, she said it was Sunday night, not Monday. She provided no other details except to say it became “a little awkward.”

Robert Saleh (Via NFL/Twitter)

In a statement released Thursday, Wolfe apologized to the Jets “for the unnecessary distraction.”

“Regarding my comments surrounding the Jets on the @AroundTheNFL podcast: no, I was not at the Annual Meeting and yes, I was told of the exchange between head coach Robert Saleh & Woody Johnson by someone in attendance.

Others on-site Sunday night have since reached out and described the interaction differently. My intent wasn’t to break news, I leave that to the insiders.

My sincerest apologies to the Jets organization for the unnecessary distraction during such a crucial part of their offseason,” she said in the statement, which was posted to X.

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 that 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.

Woody Johnson (Via NFL/Twitter)

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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