New York Jets assistant coach Greg Knapp, who has trained some of football’s best-known quarterbacks, died Thursday following a bicycle accident last week, his agent confirmed to NBC News.
Knapp, 58, was an avid cyclist riding in northern California on Saturday when a motorist swerved into the bike path and collided with the veteran coach in San Ramon, his agent Jeff Sperbeck said on Tuesday.
He never regained consciousness and died Thursday surrounded by his wife, three daughters, his mother and his brother.
“Greg’s contagious personality is the first lasting memory of most people,” Sperbeck said in a statement. “The phrase ‘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.
This coming season would have been Knapp’s first with the Jets. He and new head coach Robert Saleh were hired in January as part of a staff reshuffle in hopes of ending the franchise’s five straight years of defeat.
Knapp, the team’s passing specialist, was due to coach rookie quarterback Zach Wilson, a BYU prodigy selected by the Jets with the second overall pick in this latest NFL draft.
Knapp has been on the NFL coaching staff for 25 years, acting as a quarterback coach or offensive coordinator for some of the league’s most famous passing attacks.
He has been a quarterback coach with the Atlanta Falcons, working alongside Pro Bowl quadruple caller Matt Ryan for the past three seasons.
Prior to coming to Atlanta, Knapp was the quarterbacks coach / passing game coordinator with the Denver Broncos, where he worked with Peyton Manning. Knapp’s three-season stint in Denver included the Broncos’ Super Bowl 50 victory.
Broncos kicker Brandon McManus tweeted in mourning Thursday for Knapp, calling the coach a “great” person.
“RIP Coach Greg Knapp. I’ve always enjoyed our conversations on and off the pitch,” McManus said.
Sacramento State Head Coach Troy Taylor said the school was “heartbroken” by the news, recalling Knapp’s history as the Hornet.
“Greg was not only a great former Hornet player and coach, but one of the kindest and most generous people I have ever known,” Taylor said in a statement Thursday. “His success and humility have been an inspiration to all of us here at Sacramento State. We will continue to carry his legacy through our football program and wish his family and friends peace and comfort during this difficult loss.”
Knapp began attending Sacramento State in the fall of 1983, where he played as a quarterback and is ranked eighth in school history for career passing yards, said the ‘university.
The Las Vegas Raiders, where Knapp was the offensive coordinator when the team was still based in Oakland, were “saddened and stunned” to learn of his death.
“The thoughts and prayers of the entire Raider Nation are with Coach Knapp’s family during this extremely difficult time,” the team said.