Robert Saleh’s Detroit roots will test the Jets coach’s friends

Robert Saleh’s oldest friends have a choice on Sunday.

Root for the Jets or wear Lions jerseys as always?

Saleh, who grew up about 40 minutes from where the Lions played their home games as a child in Dearborn, Mich., admitted Wednesday that he is a Lions and Barry Sanders fan. So it’s a little surreal that he’ll be leading the Jets against the Lions in December in a rare matchup where both teams have playoff aspirations.

“I still have my friends from high school, they’re all still Lions fans, everybody is,” Saleh said.

As was the case for most Lions fans at the time, Saleh’s fan considered Sanders his favorite player.

“Yeah, whose boyfriend wasn’t he?” Salih asked rhetorically. “The best running back.”

Growing up in Detroit, Jets rookie Saus Gardner never shared his hometown loyalty.

Gardner, who played wide receiver in high school, grew up a fan of Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson and met Pro Bowler Darius Slay when he worked out in high school, but buying Lions tickets and gear wasn’t a luxury for him. . – single working mother.

Robert Saleh is rooting for the Lions – the team he will coach on Sunday.
Getty Images

“I had to see how I could handle it, you know?” Gardner told The Post. “I wasn’t old enough to go to Lions games. Never had a T-shirt.”

Some of Gardner’s family members are Lions fans, including his grandmother, but do they see the team in person?

“I hope not,” he said. “If this game was in Detroit, it would be different.”

WR Corey Davis (concussion), CB Brandin Echols (quad), DE John Franklin-Myers (illness), DT Quinnen Williams (calf) and S Will Parks (not injury related) did not practice Wednesday. QB Mike White (ribs), LT Duane Brown (shoulder), RT George Fant (knee) and DE Mike Clemons (knee) were limited participants.

According to Saleh, Davis is “achieving everything he wants to achieve, so he’s destined to play.” Williams availability is “50/50”. Fant and Brown are in technical programs that require weekly Wednesday restrictions.

Same faces, new places.

It will be the eighth time Lions quarterback Jared Goff has started against a Saleh-influenced defense. Goff started for the Rams when Saleh was the 49ers defensive coordinator (2017-20). Holding the edge with a 4-3 lead, Saleh praised Goff’s accuracy, quick decision-making and ball security.

Detroit Lions quarterback Jared Goff (16) leads his team down the field
Jared Goff also looks at his career record against Robert Saleh.

“When he’s back and he’s comfortable, he’s as good as anybody in this game and he’s playing at a very high level … with a lot of confidence,” Saleh said. “He’s only been sacked 19 times, so if you let him go seven-on-seven, he’ll kill you. Credit their O-line … and it does a great job delivering the football.

Online fan voting for the Pro Bowl ends Thursday. Selections will be announced next week.

Williams is the No. 1 defensive end, Gardner is the No. 1 cornerback, Justin Hardy is the No. 2 special teamer and DJ Reed is the No. 3 cornerback among AFC voters in the latest update released Wednesday.

OT Eric Smith signed to the practice squad for his third stint with the Jets. He was originally added to the 53-man roster in December 2018 and was cut in September 2019, and he was part of the practice squad earlier this season.


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