New York Jets head coach Robert Saleh worked alongside Geno Hayes when he was a linebackers coach for the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Former NFL linebacker Geno Hayes passed away at the age of 33 on Monday. Hayes had been suffering from chronic liver disease for two years and was placed into hospice care last week.
Hayes had been on the waiting list for a liver transplant at the Mayo Clinic and Northwestern Medicine and spoke with ESPN about the news in December.
The linebacker spent time with a number of teams after going in the sixth round of the 2008 draft out of Florida State, including the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2008-11), Chicago Bears (2012), and Jacksonville Jaguars (2013-14).
During his final year with Jacksonville (and in the NFL in general), Hayes worked with then-Jaguars linebackers coach and current Jets head coach Robert Saleh, who recently released a heartfelt statement upon the unfortunate death.
“My prayers and thoughts are with Geno Hayes’ family and loved ones after his untimely passing,” Saleh said. “Having the opportunity to spend time with him, I saw Geno’s passion and love for not only football but for life itself. He was an amazing person who left a mark on everyone who had the pleasure of connecting with him.”
Hayes statistically peaked during his tenure with Tampa Bay, having racked up a career-high 98 total tackles (80 solo) with three sacks, two picks, and six pass breakups during the 2009 campaign.
He ultimately concluded his pro career with 401 total tackles, 10 sacks, six interceptions, and six forced fumbles through 101 career games (70 starts).