Friday, October 22 2021

NEW YORK – New York Jets assistant coach Greg Knapp died Thursday of injuries sustained in a bicycle accident near his home in the San Francisco Bay Area last Saturday. He was 58 years old.

Knapp’s family released a statement through the team that the longtime NFL assistant coach died at 11:32 a.m.

“Greg Knapp (aka Knapper) has been called home to Heaven, where he will be reunited with his father,” the statement said.

The family said in the statement that Knapp was hit by a car while cycling through the town of San Ramon and never regained consciousness.

He was surrounded by his mother, his wife, his three daughters and his brother when he died.

“Greg’s contagious personality is the first lasting memory of most people,” the family said. “The line ‘He never met a stranger’ sums up Knapper’s joie de vivre. He had a unique gift for making 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 definitely be a masterpiece, just like Greg!

Knapp, who lived in Danville and previously helped coach the San Francisco 49ers and Oakland Raiders, was hired by the Jets in January under new coach Robert Saleh as a passing specialist. One of Knapp’s main roles was to help develop quarterback Zach Wilson, second pick in the draft.

“Losing a loved one is always a challenge, but it’s more difficult when it’s completely unexpected,” Saleh said in a statement released by the team. “Charlotte, Jordan, Natalie and Camille, please accept our deepest condolences. Greg had such an inner peace that people always seemed to turn to. He lived life in a loving way that helped him connect with people from all walks of life in a unique way. During the short time he was here, I think the members of this organization have been fortunate enough to experience this connection. Greg, thank you for everything you shared with us, we will miss you, my brother.

Knapp was loved and respected in NFL circles and had established himself as one of the best offensive coaches in the league. After a nine-year stint as an assistant at Sacramento State, where he also played quarterback, Knapp got his first NFL job with San Francisco in 1997 as an offensive quality control coach under the directed by Steve Mariucci. He was promoted to quarterbacks coach two years later and became the 49ers’ offensive coordinator in 2001.

Knapp joined Jim Mora’s team in Atlanta as offensive coordinator in 2004, and served equally for Oakland (2007-08 and 2012) and Seattle (2009). He has also served as quarterbacks coach for Houston (2010-11), Denver (2013-16) – where he helped Peyton Manning set single-season passing records in 2013 – and most recently the Falcons. (2018-20).

Knapp was to play a key role in helping offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur and quarterbacks coach Rob Calabrese teach and develop Wilson as the 21-year-old QB adjusts to NFL life as a likely starter for the Jets this season.

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