Robert Saleh was born on Jan. 31, 1979 in Dearborn Michigan, a town with a population of 98,153 people and has the largest Muslim population in the U.S. per capita. Saleh is of Lebanese descent, and is currently married to his wife Sanna. Together, they have six children (four sons and two daughters).
Saleh graduated from Fordson high school in 1997, and attended Northern Michigan University where he was a four-year starter, earning all-conference honors as a tight end (1998-2002). After his playing career in college, Saleh began his coaching career as a defensive assistant for Michigan State (2002-03), Central Michigan University (2004), and the University of Georgia (2005).
In 2005, Saleh was hired as a defensive intern with the Houston Texans, and then was retained by head coach Gary Kubiak in 2006, where he was a defensive quality control coach under DC Richard Smith. In Jan. 2009, he was promoted to assistant linebackers coach.
In Feb. 2011, Saleh was hired as the defensive quality control coach for the Seattle Seahawks under Pete Carroll. He was part of the 2013 Seahawks team that easily defeated Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos 43-8 in Super Bowl 48. The defense was known at the time as the “Legion of Boom”.
After the Seahawks Championship, Saleh joined the Jacksonville Jaguars and was hired under Gus Bradley, who worked with Saleh in Seattle, and was in his second-year as head coach.
Saleh was hired on Feb. 13, 2017 by the San Francisco 49ers to become the defensive coordinator under newly hired head coach Kyle Shanahan. In 2019, the 49ers defense was sixth-in-the-league in forced turnovers (27) and second-in-total defense (281.8 yards per game). This was the first-time since 2003 that San Francisco finished top-10 in both scoring and yards per game.
The “New” New York Jets Head Coach
On Jan. 14, 2021, Saleh earned his first head coaching job with the New York Jets, and will look to replace recently fired head coach Adam Gase.
We’ve reached an agreement in principle with Robert Saleh to become our head coach.
— New York Jets (@nyjets) January 15, 2021
He is inheriting a team that finished 2-14, but has a chance to upgrade the quarterback situation by either trading for Deshaun Watson, or using his pick to select a rookie. Or maybe, Saleh trusts Sam Darnold and he will hopefully surround himself with a better supporting cast. It is rumored that Saleh is going to take Mike LaFleur with him as his Offensive Coordinator.
Now Jets fans, I know you’ve had to do this before, but your team is in a much better place now than it ever was with Gase gone, “in my opinion.”
Players and Fans reactions around the NFL
When Saleh’s hiring was publicized on social media, and on national online-publications, the reactions from players were nothing but positive. Current San Francisco corner-back and pending free-agent Richard Sherman endorsed the hire, congratulating the Jets for hiring a great coach. He was not alone as Jets defensive lineman Quinnen Williams happily tweeted his thoughts on Saleh, with a praying and a fire emojis. Even the kicker got his foot into the action as Robbie Gould tweeted a photo of Salen with a mask on, with a New York Jets logo next to him. He then sent a congratulatory message to the Jets saying it was a great hire.
I too, wish Coach Saleh good luck!
The @nyjets got a great one! Congrats to them!
— Richard Sherman (@RSherman_25) January 15, 2021
YESSS SIRRRRRRRRRR 🙏🏾💪🏾🔥 https://t.co/lEJcWsbHOY
— Quinnen Williams (@QuinnenWilliams) January 15, 2021
— Robbie Gould (@RobbieGould09) January 15, 2021