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New York Jets assistant coach Greg Knapp dies following bike accident

Former Atlanta Falcons assistant coach Greg Knapp (C) worked with many star quarterbacks in his coaching career, including former Falcons scrambler Michael Vick. File Photo by John Dickerson/UPI
Former Atlanta Falcons assistant coach Greg Knapp (C) worked with many star quarterbacks in his coaching career, including former Falcons scrambler Michael Vick. File Photo by John Dickerson/UPI | License Photo

July 22 (UPI) -- New York Jets assistant Greg Knapp, an offensive-minded coach known for his expertise with quarterbacks over his 25-year career in the NFL, died Thursday from injuries suffered when he was hit by a car while riding his bike last week. He was 58.

Knapp, hired in January, was just days away from traveling to New Jersey to begin his first season as the Jets' passing-game specialist under new head coach Robert Saleh. The Jets' rookies reported Tuesday to training camp.

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"Greg had such an inner peace about him that people always seemed to gravitate towards," Saleh said in a statement. "He lived life in a loving way that helped him connect with people from all walks of life in a unique way.

"In his short time here, I believe the people in this organization had a chance to experience that connection. Greg, thank you for all that you have shared with us, you will be missed brother."

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Knapp, an avid bicyclist, was struck by a single motorist at about 2:49 p.m. Saturday in San Ramon, Calif., near his home in Danville, police said.

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Authorities said the driver of the vehicle wasn't under the influence of alcohol or drugs and is cooperating with the ongoing investigation.

"Those of us who were so blessed to have known him, know that he would have wanted even this moment to be a teachable one," Knapp's family said in a statement. "So this is it... 'Live every day as if it's your last, and love those around you like it won't last!'"

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The family said Knapp never regained consciousness and died at 2:32 p.m. EDT Thursday, five days after the accident. He was surrounded by his mother, wife, three daughters and his brother.

"Greg's infectious personality is most people's first and lasting memory of him," the family said. "The phrase, 'He never met a stranger,' encapsulates Knapper's zest for life. He had a unique gift to make everyone feel special, and to Knapper, they all were.

"While his family, friends and players still had so much to learn from him and desperately wished they had more time with him, God called an audible and wanted to go over the game plan directly with him. It will certainly be a masterpiece, just like Greg!"

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Knapp started his NFL coaching career in 1997 as an offensive assistant for the San Francisco 49ers. He formed a strong bond with Hall of Fame quarterback Steve Young, and the duo remained close.

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Knapp also coached for the Atlanta Falcons (twice), then-Oakland Raiders (twice), Seattle Seahawks, Houston Texans and Denver Broncos, where he worked with future Hall of Fame signal-caller Peyton Manning.

In addition to Young and Manning, Knapp helped tutor quarterbacks Michael Vick, Matt Ryan and Carson Palmer. Knapp was set to work with No. 2 overall pick Zach Wilson in New York this year.

Born in Long Beach, Calif., Knapp played college football at Sacramento State. He never appeared in an NFL game, but he spent time on the rosters of the Raiders, 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs.

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