Jets' Saleh is first Muslim head coach in NFL history


Robert Saleh's meteoric rise to head coach marks an interesting first in NFL history.

The 41-year-old is the third head coach of Arab descent and the first Muslim, according to multiple reports.

Former Bears coach Abe Gibron and former Eagles and Jets Rich Kotite were also of Arab descent.

Saleh, who is of Lebanese descent, is a native of Dearborn, Michigan, a city where roughly one-third of the population are Arab-Americans or of Arab descent, the Daily Beast reported in 2015.

Saleh fell in love with the game at Fordson High School on the city's east side, a football-obsessed school that Saleh last year called "very unique," according to Dan Wetzel of Yahoo.

The city's demographics in the post-9/11 era made it a focal point for political opportunists looking to fearmonger and stoke divisions -- and the journalists who could make a buck enabling them.

But Saleh said the city's residents are like those anywhere else in the US.

“The people of Dearborn are just trying to assimilate and be part of this country and make a living just like everybody else,” Saleh said, according to Yahoo.

That message should resonate with a diverse base of fans in the tri-state area.

Meanwhile Saleh's new employer, Jets owner Woody Johnson, has spent the past several years as President Trump's ambassador to the UK.

Among Trump's most inflammatory positions has been his hostility toward, and scapegoating of, Muslims, best exemplified in the so-called "Muslim ban."

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