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Jets owner Woody Johnson rips NFL Nework’s report about ‘heated argument’ with HC Robert Saleh

Sports

Woody Johnson, chairman of the New York Jets, had some words for NFL Network. (Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

New York Jets owner Woody Johnson took to social media Thursday to deny a report from an NFL Network host about a “very heated conversation” between him and coach Robert Saleh at the league’s annual league meetings in Orlando, Florida earlier this week.

“All this nonsense about a heated argument between Coach Saleh and me at the league meeting is absolutely false,” Johnson wrote on X, formerly Twitter. “It is yet another irresponsible report from NFL Network. Please disregard”

All this nonsense about a heated argument between Coach Saleh and me at the League Meeting is absolutely false. It is yet another irresponsible report from NFL Network. Please disregard.

— Woody Johnson (@woodyjohnson4) March 28, 2024

He was referencing NFL Network’s Colleen Wolfe, who told her co-hosts and the “Around the NFL” podcast’s audience that she had a tip “from a very reliable source.”

“At the owners meetings, there was a very heated conversation between Woody and Robert Saleh,” she reported. “To the point where it was a little awkward.”

Discussion about the topic lasted for over five minutes, with her co-hosts reveling in the “developing news.” Wolfe emphasized that the exchange should be regarded as passionate but not an argument.

“It could have been about anything,” she teased. “Where there’s smoke there’s fire.”

A few hours after Johnson’s tweet, Wolfe released a statement renouncing her report and apologizing to the Jets:

“Regarding my comments surrounding the Jets on the @AroundTheNFL podcast: no, I was not at the Annual Meeting and yes, I was told of the exchange between head coach Robert Saleh & Woody Johnson by someone in attendance. Others on-site Sunday night have since reached out and described the interaction differently. My intent wasn’t to break news, I leave that to the insiders. My sincerest apologies to the Jets organization for the unnecessary distraction during such a crucial part of their offseason.”

The report seemingly attempted to fan the flames surrounding Saleh’s expected position in the hot seat for the upcoming season. It will be his fourth campaign at the helm of the Jets, a team that has yet to post better than a 7-10 record for a season under his leadership. He has an 18-33 record over his time with Gang Green.

Wolfe’s differentiation between “argument” and “conversation” clearly wasn’t enough to prevent backlash against the report.

In addition to Johnson’s response and Wolfe’s statement, Connor Hughes of SNY denied that any such exchange took place.

“There was no verbal argument between Robert Saleh and Woody Johnson at the NFL’s annual meeting reception” Hughes wrote. “I know because I was at the party where this apparently happened, feet from Saleh & Johnson, before Johnson & Jets contingent left. Woody took them out to dinner. Checked in with a two sources at the dinner. Confirmed nothing happened there, either.”

That said, Johnson made it clear that his issue with NFL Network isn’t new. His statement about the outlet’s “irresponsible reports” comes while he technically owns part of the platform. NFL team owners such as himself equally own the league, and the league owns NFL Network.

It’s a new bit of non-football drama for the Jets, who briefly saw star quarterback Aaron Rodgers become a potential 2024 U.S. vice presidential candidate earlier this month.