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Now leading Jets, Robert Saleh got NFL start as coaching intern for Vic Fangio



Now leading Jets, Robert Saleh got NFL start as coaching intern for Vic Fangio

Shortly before their 2005 training camp, the Houston Texans hired 26-year-old Robert Saleh as a defensive intern, his first NFL job after coaching for Michigan State, Central Michigan and Georgia.

The Texans’ defensive coordinator was Vic Fangio and although they worked together for only one season, they have kept in touch.

Saleh is now the New York Jets’ first-year coach and they face Fangio’s Broncos on Sunday.

How does an intern prove his worth to Fangio?

“You give him a lot of work and see if he gets it done the right way and he did,” he said before practice Thursday. “Robert did a good job for us. He obviously had a great work ethic and did good work. A lot of people have great work ethics, but their work isn’t very good. He was able to do both. He was smart. You could tell he had a good future in coaching.”

After the ’05 season, the Texans changed coaching staffs, but Gary Kubiak retained Saleh and moved him to quality control (2006-08) and assistant linebackers coach (2009-10). Saleh went on to work for Pete Carroll (Seattle, 2011-13), Gus Bradley (Jacksonville, 2014-16) and Kyle Shanahan (San Francisco, 2017-20).

“It was kind of a whirlwind (in Houston),” Saleh said in a conference call with Denver reporters. “My head was swimming and it was a rough year (2-14 record), but I took a lot from Vic. He’s one of the more detailed men I’ve ever been around.”

Fangio and Saleh played golf in the Bay Area when Saleh was the 49ers’ defensive coordinator.

“He’s got that old-man swing that goes right down the middle 200 yards,” Saleh said. “I’m busy trying to pound it 300 yards while going off of every fairway. He’s a better scorer than I am.”

Injury report. Nose tackle Mike Purcell (knee), who didn’t practice Wednesday, was a limited participant Thursday. Limited for a second consecutive day were receiver Tim Patrick (hip) and tight end Noah Fant (ankle).

Receiver Courtland Sutton (hip), right guard Graham Glasgow (illness) and defensive end Shelby Harris (wrist) were full-go.

Fangio said Glasgow, who missed the Jacksonville game after experiencing an irregular heartbeat late in the win over the New York Giants, is trending toward playing against the Jets.

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