<
>

Jets hire Pepper Johnson to coach defensive line

Spurned recently by the New York Giants, Pepper Johnson is back with the New York Jets.

Johnson, who expressed his frustration last week after being passed over for the Giants' defensive coordinator job, was hired Saturday to coach the Jets' defensive line. Johnson played for the Jets in 1997 and 1998 before embarking on his coaching career. He spent 14 years as a New England Patriots assistant before leaving the Bill Belichick nest last year to become the Buffalo Bills' defensive line coach.

Johnson has no previous working experience with new coach Todd Bowles, but they share a mentor -- Bill Parcells. Johnson played for Parcells with the New York Giants and Jets; Bowles coached for Parcells with the Jets, Dallas Cowboys and Miami Dolphins.

The popular former linebacker coveted the Giants' defensive coordinator position. He interviewed for the job, but it went to Steve Spagnuolo, who previously had won a Super Bowl ring as a member of Tom Coughlin's staff.

"Moving away from the Patriots, spending a year in Buffalo, I was hoping it would open doors and open some eyes, that more people would be watching,” Johnson told the New York Daily News, "and [that some team] will give me a call before all this is said and done.

"I feel bottled up," he said. "I have a lot of knowledge and a lot of information that I feel like I just have to keep to myself."

Johnson steps into a great situation, as he will be in charge of the strongest positions on the team. The Jets' defensive line is led by Muhammad Wilkerson and Sheldon Richardson, who will play Sunday night in the Pro Bowl.

The Jets ended up swapping defensive line coaches with the Bills. Their former coach, Karl Dunbar, followed Rex Ryan to Buffalo.