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NY Jets sign DE Ronald Blair, a former Robert Saleh favorite

NY Jets, Ronald Blair
NY Jets, Ronald Blair / Christian Petersen/Getty Images
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The NY Jets have reportedly signed former San Francisco 49ers defensive end Ronald Blair, per ESPN's Adam Schefter.

The move will reunite Blair with Robert Saleh, who will now be his head coach in New York after previously serving as his defensive coordinator in San Francisco.

Blair has battled injuries throughout his career, but has been an efficient player when healthy. He'll be added to a revamped pass rush and provide more depth at a position that was a major need heading into the offseason.

It's no surprise to see Blair join Saleh in New York as the former 49ers' defensive end was a favorite of Saleh's during their time together in San Francisco.

Ronald Blair is a favorite of NY Jets head coach Robert Saleh

Saleh's most famous quote about Blair, which he has reiterated on numerous occasions, is a simple one. "If you like winning, you like Ronald Blair."

That pretty much says it all about Saleh's thoughts on Blair. But here's a quick excerpt from a 2020 press conference where he spoke about the 49ers' former fifth-round pick to truly paint the picture.

"He’s just a model of consistency, man. I love Ronnie. I’ve gushed about him up here and I can do it for another 15 minutes if you all like. You guys know how I feel about him. He looked fantastic and he’s looked like that, to me, his entire career, it just goes unnoticed when he’s not the big name, he’s not the big draft pick. But, he’s your lunch pail, gets things done, makes things work, get people lined up. He does it all. I’m happy we have him… he’s a playmaker. People have never noticed it."

Robert Saleh, on Ronald Blair

Robert Saleh loves Ronald Blair. Like a lot.

A fifth-round pick of the 49ers in the 2016 NFL Draft, Blair has battled injuries throughout his career missing 10 games in his second NFL season due to a thumb injury.

His most recent ailment came when he suffered a torn ACL midway through the 2019 season. The injury would knock him out for the rest of the year and, after suffering a setback, would keep him sidelined for all of 2020.

The hope is that Blair can return healthy in 2021. And if he can, he could prove to be an invaluable part of the pass-rush rotation.

Blair's best season came in 2018 when he finished with 5.5 sacks, 14 QB hits, and 10 tackles for loss in 16 games. He ranked second on the team behind superstar defensive tackle DeForest Buckner in all three categories.

And, of course, that came under the tutelage of Saleh who has coached Blair for every year of his pro career with the exception of his rookie season. That trend will continue in 2021.

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Expect Ronald Blair to immediately compete for snaps on defense with a chance to earn a sizable role. He certainly already has the support of the coaching staff working in his favor.

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