Robert Saleh will reportedly make history as the first Muslim head coach in the NFL

By Georgia Slater
January 15, 2021 02:19 PM
Robert Saleh
Credit: Lachlan Cunningham/Getty

The New York Jets have found a new head coach, who is already making history.

On Thursday, the NFL team announced that they are bringing on Robert Saleh to lead the franchise in the new role of head coach.

"We've reached an agreement in principle with Robert Saleh to become our head coach," the Jets shared in an official statement.

Saleh — who will make history as the first Muslim head coach in the NFL, according to multiple outlets — previously worked as the San Francisco 49ers' defensive coordinator for the past four seasons.

The 41-year-old will replace Adam Gase, who was fired immediately after the 2020 season, according to ESPN. Under Gase, the team finished 2-14 in this past season.

Sources told ESPN's Adam Schefter that Saleh's new agreement with the Jets is for five years.

Saleh was sought after by multiple teams looking for new head coaches, the outlet reported. He received interview requests from six of the seven teams looking for new leadership.

According to ESPN Saleh interviewed virtually on Jan. 8 and flew to New Jersey for a second interview on Tuesday.

While this is Saleh's first head coaching gig, he previously served as a defensive assistant with the Jacksonville Jaguars, Seattle Seahawks and Houston Texans.

According to a press release, Saleh led the 49ers to a successful 2020 season with "a top-10 defense in total yards (fifth), rush yards (seventh) and pass yards (fourth)."

The Michigan native grew up in Dearborn and played football for four seasons at Northern Michigan University.

He later served as assistant coach at both Michigan State and Central Michigan and also briefly worked for the University of Georgia in 2005.