Robert Saleh is preparing to be miserable.
The first-year Jets’ coach is expecting to miss Sunday’s game against the Jaguars at MetLife Stadium after testing positive for COVID-19 earlier this week. In preparation for that, he spoke to Browns coach Kevin Stefanski about what it is like to watch your team play without you. The hardest part, the Browns’ coach said, is the game.
“Sunday’s going to be miserable,” Stefanski told Saleh.
“So I’m looking for misery,” Saleh said on Friday over Zoom, in his first public comments since he was infected by the virus.
Saleh said he is feeling good, but he remains in isolation at a nearby hotel and has yet to clear COVID-19 protocols to return. Four of his kids have the virus, but are symptom-free. If he can’t return, tight ends coach Ron Middleton will step in.
“If I do come up with two negatives [in testing], it will be an easy adjustment,” Saleh said. “But we’re operating as if I will not be there Sunday.”
The Jets currently have 17 players in COVID-19 protocols. That group includes five defensive starters and starting offensive linemen Laurent Duvernay-Tardif and Alijah Vera-Tucker. The team will be significantly shorthanded for their most winnable remaining game of the season. Last week, the NFL moved three games back due to outbreaks, but that doesn’t appear to be the plan for the Jets-Jaguars contest.
“Everyone has to go through adversity. Adversity is what shapes everything,” Saleh said. “Obviously this whole season has been filled with adversity, why not finish it with a little bit more?”
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