NY Jets replace long-tenured head trainer after injury-riddled 2019 season

NY Jets (Photo by Al Pereira/Getty Images for New York Jets)
NY Jets (Photo by Al Pereira/Getty Images for New York Jets) /

The NY Jets have reportedly replaced their long-tenured head trainer John Mellody.

The NY Jets were absolutely ravaged by injuries in 2019 and those injuries perhaps prevented a 7-9 team from making an actual run at the postseason.

And perhaps as a direct response to their poor injury luck last season, the Jets have removed longtime head trainer John Mellody from his position.

As first reported by ESPN’s Rich Cimini, the Jets have replaced the long-tenured Mellody with his former assistant, Dave Zuffelato, who has been with the team since 2006.

Mellody has been a member of the Jets organization for the last 25 years since 1996 when he first started as an assistant. He was promoted to the head trainer role in 2006 and he’s served in that role for the past 15 seasons.

For those keeping track, that means that he’s been a part of the coaching staff for eight different head coaches spanning all the way back through the infamous Rich Kotite days to the Adam Gase era of today.

And even since he’s been a head trainer, Mellody has served under the likes of Eric Mangini, Rex Ryan, Todd Bowles, and finally Gase this past season.

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The 51-year-old was reportedly highly-respected throughout the organization and NFL as a whole, but the circumstances of last season certainly didn’t paint the training staff in a positive light.

Why would the NY Jets opt to move on from John Mellody?

The Jets finished the year with a league-high 21 players on the injured reserve with both sides of the football being hit particularly hard.

From injuries to the likes of Quincy Enunwa, Avery Williamson, and C.J. Mosley — among many others — no team was hit with the injury bug quite as hard as the Jets were.

And as a result, it appears as though Mellody has been classified as the fall guy.

Cimini’s report did state that Mellody will remain with the team as a consultant, but that’s obviously a demotion. The 25-year member of the organization declined to comment on the situation, per Cimini.

When asked about the Jets’ injury woes in 2019, head coach Adam Gase insisted that any changes to the training staff were “highly unlikely” following the conclusion of the season. Evidently, that didn’t turn out to be the case.

To fill Zuffelato’s old role, the Jets hired now-former Army West Point head trainer Robert “Bobby” Daplyn. Daplyn had been Army’s head trainer since 2016 and served as an assistant athletic trainer for the Jets during the 2015 season.

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Hopefully the Jets can find some better luck in regards to injuries next season with a newly-restructured training staff