Coming off a season in which they led the NFL with 21 players on injured reserve, the New York Jets have replaced longtime head athletic trainer John Mellody, a source told ESPN.
The Jets filled the position by staying in-house, promoting former assistant Dave Zuffelato, who joined the organization in 2006 and worked alongside Mellody.
Mellody, who started with the Jets as an assistant in 1996 and became the head trainer in 2006, will remain a consultant.
“I’m not going to comment,” Mellody said Tuesday before hanging up when reached by a reporter.
Mellody, 51, served under eight head coaches, from Rich Kotite to Adam Gase. He was widely respected within the organization and around the league, but the training staff was put under a spotlight after an inordinate number of injuries.
Wide receiver Quincy Enunwa suffered a season-ending neck injury in Week 1 last year, and it went from there. Almost every position on both sides of the ball was hit, in particular the offensive line, where the Jets were forced to start 11 linemen.
The most head-scratching injury belonged to linebacker C.J. Mosley, who suffered a severe groin pull in Week 1 and lasted only two quarters when he tried to return in Week 8. He missed the rest of the season and required surgery.
Two players, guard Kelechi Osemele and quarterback Luke Falk, filed injury grievances against the team. Both players were cut.
When the season ended, Gase said the team was planning to study the matter and examine possible causes. At the time, he said changes in the training department were “highly unlikely.” He appeared to suggest that it was bad luck more than anything, but he said he wanted the organization to investigate.
“We’re going to continue to take deeper dives and all that when we meet with the staff as far as, was it practice schedule? Training camp? Offseason? Is it something we’re doing during the season? We’re combing through everything because we can’t have this happen again,” Gase said.
To fill Zuffelato’s old position, the Jets hired Robert Daplyn, formerly of West Point.