Aircraft owner describes report of dispute with Saleh as “completely false”

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

Johnson said: “All this nonsense about a heated argument between me and Coach Saleh in the league match is completely false.” He said on X. “It's another irresponsible report from NFL Network. Please ignore it.”

It's unusual for Johnson, 76, to respond this way, but he clearly felt compelled after NFL Network's Colin Wolfe's comment gained traction late Wednesday.

On “Around the NFL,” Wolff said she heard about the alleged dispute between Johnson and Saleh from a “very reliable source.” Initially, she said it happened at an NFL reception Monday night at the Ritz-Carlton, which hosted NFL conferences. Later in the podcast, she said it was Sunday night, not Monday. She didn't provide any further details, except to say it had become “a little awkward.”

The relationship between Johnson and Saleh has been under the microscope since the end of the season — a disappointing 7-10 campaign for the Jets. Tensions rose around the team in early February when Johnson spoke to reporters at an NFL honors gala in Las Vegas, putting everyone in the organization on alert by saying he expected significant improvement in 2024.

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Johnson said Saleh and general manager Joe Douglas “saw me as angry as can be about what's going on. … We've got all this talent, and we've got to deploy the talent right. So, I think they all get the message.” That's all. This is the time to leave. We have to produce this year.” On Monday morning, Saleh spoke to reporters for the first time since the end of the season.

Asked about Johnson's sharp comments in February, Saleh told reporters: “Woody offers a lot of good insight, and he really does. Regardless of what the tone is or not, the important thing is the message, and he really delivered a lot of things.” . Good, thoughtful messages that helped us progress, especially during this season.

“He will help us during the season. So, his words are always welcome. He is the owner of the football team, and he shares his frustrations with everyone.”

The Jets have gone 13 straight seasons without making the playoffs, the longest drought of any team in the four major North American sports leagues. They started last season with Super Bowl aspirations, but it all came crashing down when quarterback Aaron Rodgers tore his left Achilles tendon in the fourth game of the season.

In Orlando, Johnson said he was “very impressed” with the team's season.

“I like to win games, as do a lot of other owners,” he said. “Losing games is not why we're in this situation. We're in it to win games, both players and fans. So, we want to win games, and we're trying to put the team together. I think we've made some really good progress in putting the team together to achieve that.”

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