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#pounditFriday, February 23, 2024

Dianna Russini doubles down on unflattering report about Zach Wilson

Zach Wilson on the practice field

May 7, 2021; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson during rookie minicamp. Mandatory Credit: New York Jets/Handout Photo via USA TODAY Sports

The New York Jets have denied that Zach Wilson expressed hesitance about reclaiming his starting job in Week 14 and potentially beyond, but one of the NFL insiders who was responsible for the report is standing by it.

Dianna Russini and Zack Rosenblatt of The Athletic reported on Monday that the Jets want Wilson to start for them again, but Wilson is not inclined to risk getting hurt. The report also claimed Aaron Rodgers reached out to Wilson in an effort to encourage him to accept the assignment.

Jets head coach Robert Saleh told the media on Monday that he met with Wilson and Wilson expressed willingness to play. Rodgers addressed the story during his Tuesday appearance on “The Pat McAfee Show” and blasted whoever leaked the information.

Russini discussed her reporting during an interview with 98.7 ESPN New York’s “The Michael Kay Show” Tuesday. She doubled down on all of the information.

“I think right now everyone’s trying their best to figure out was it a player, was it a coach, was it a trainer, was it somebody that works in security? I can just tell you that it was multiple people that are very aware because the entire building has been aware of this for over a week now — that Zach Wilson has reluctance to wanting to go back in there. He’s expressed it openly to people,” Russini said.

As Russini said, Rodgers seemed more angry that the information leaked than he was about the report itself. The two-time MVP did, however, deny that he tried to convince Wilson to accept the starting job. Russini insists Rodgers is lying.

“(Rodgers) was told to speak with (Wilson) last Wednesday. He spoke with him yesterday about changing his mind,” Russini said. “I was actually told that it didn’t even work initially, that Zach said, ‘Thanks, but no thanks. This is what I’m gonna do moving forward.’ Someone from Zach’s side of this did reach out (to me and say) that if he was named the starting quarterback he is going to get out there and play. He’s now changed his mind on this and will be doing it.”

Rodgers did not explicitly refute the information in The Athletic’s report, which was quite telling. Remember, this is the same quarterback who once unloaded on a respected NFL insider in a text message over a report that turned out to be accurate.

The real concern for the Jets is that they have people within their organization who are openly discussing in-house issues with the media.

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