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New York Jets head coach Robert Saleh remembers late LB Geno Hayes

JACKSONVILLE, FL - DECEMBER 18: Geno Hayes #55 of the Jacksonville Jaguars reacts to a stop against the Tennessee Titans at EverBank Field on December 18, 2014 in Jacksonville, Florida. Jacksonville won the game 21-13.
(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

New York Jets head coach Robert Saleh remembered his former linebacker, Geno Hayes, who passed from liver disease on Monday.

New York Jets head coach Robert Saleh released a statement on Tuesday commemorating the passing of Geno Hayes. The former linebacker, 33, partook in seven NFL seasons, his last coming under Saleh’s watch as the positional coach with the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2014.

“My prayers and thoughts are with Geno Hayes’ family and loved ones after his untimely passing,” Saleh said in a statement released by the Jets. “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.”

Under Saleh’s watch, Hayes tallied 51 tackles (nine for a loss) over 16 games (11 starts).

Hayes a shining moment on the metropolitan stage when a sack and a fumble of Eli Manning was recovered in the end zone. The game-changing endeavor helped Jacksonville erase a 21-point deficit en route to a 25-24 victory over the New York Giants.

Hayes began his career as a sixth-round pick out of Florida State (175th overall) of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the 2008 selections. The All-ACC nominee spent four seasons with the Bucs before moving on to Chicago for a year before the aforementioned two-year stay in Jacksonville, spending that latter season with Saleh.

He ended his career with 401 total tackles (48 for a loss), including 10 sacks, and six interceptions.

The Greenville, FL native was placed in hospice care at his parents’ home in Georgia on April 22 after battling chronic liver disease. Tributes have been raised throughout the football world, with current Florida State head coach Mike Norvell and former Chicago Bears teammate Lance Briggs among those sending their prayers and well wishes.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

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