When practice was over, Robert Saleh made a beeline to the stands.
He wanted to thank the Jets fans who attended Saturday’s workout in Florham Park, N.J., the first time the team had practiced or played in front of fans since 2019.
“Just appreciate them coming out,” the first-year head coach said. “It’s not easy in this climate right now to be able to step out and break out of your comfort zone. For them to come out here and enjoy a practice, hopefully it was worth it for them.”
It was an energized group of approximately 1,000 fans. They began chanting, “J-E-T-S, Jets, Jets, Jets,” before the practice even began, with rookie offensive guard Alijah Vera-Tucker. They exploded after every Zach Wilson completion and roared when he hit fellow rookie Elijah Moore for an 80-yard touchdown pass. Saleh got them even more fired up when he led them in a “All gas, no brake” chant.
“That was really cool. Obviously coming from college, you have fans that come to practices. I feel like it’s something different out here,” Vera-Tucker said. “I feel like Jets fans are loud and proud. We’re definitely going to need that at MetLife [Stadium] for the first game at home and the rest of the season.”
Saleh enjoyed it, too.
“Oh, man, it’s fun just to have human interaction again and fans, listening to them scream and boo and whatever else they were doing over there,” he said. “It was awesome.”
After kicker Sam Ficken missed two field goals in practice on Friday, the Jets waived him and signed Matt Ammendola, a 24-year-old Oklahoma State product who has never kicked in an NFL game, but recently spent time with the Panthers.
“It’s not over with Sam,” Saleh said of Ficken, who spent the past two seasons with the Jets. “He’s still kicked in this league, and he had success last year, but it was an opportunity in another leg to see where they’re at and try to add to the competition.”
The Jets will practice in pads on Monday for the first time. They are off on Sunday. … NFL commissioner Roger Goodell attended Saturday’s practice.