After weeks of speculation, New York Jets owner Woody Johnson appears to have been chosen by President-elect Donald Trump to serve as the U.S. ambassador to the United Kingdom.
Trump, speaking to supporters Thursday at a Washington D.C. luncheon on the eve of his inauguration, referred to Johnson as "ambassador," according to reports. He also said Johnson is "going to St. James," alluding to the official title of the ambassadorship.
Neither Johnson nor the Jets have commented yet. Speaking to reporters at the end of the season, Johnson said "it would be an honor to be considered," but he declined to elaborate.
Johnson, 69, is a longtime friend of Trump and was a major fundraiser during Trump's presidential campaign.
The Jets' owner since 2000, Johnson won't be required to sell the team even though he will live in England. He serves on three NFL committees, and he likely will re-sign those positions.
It's unclear how Johnson's absence will affect the day-to-day operation of the franchise. Unlike some owners, he doesn't work out of the team facility on a daily basis, so team officials don't expect a difficult transition.
Johnson's brother, Christopher Wold Johnson, 12 years his junior, reportedly could step into a prominent role in the organization.
Pittsburgh Steelers chairman Dan Rooney served from 2009 to 2012 as the ambassador to Ireland under the Obama administration. He re-signed his committee posts and traveled back-and-forth to home games, but he relinquished the day-to-day operations to his son, Art Rooney II, the team president.