When Robert Saleh came to East Rutherford, New Jersey, to take over as Head Coach of the New York Jets, the NFL franchise was in a deep hole with no clear way out. The Dearborn, Michigan, native was coming off a successful run as the defensive coordinator of the San Francisco 49ers and the timing couldn't have been more right for the Lebanese-American coach. Still, there was one person he had to clear his decision with. Robert Saleh needed his wife's permission, and Sanaa Saleh was ready for the journey.
Who is Robert Saleh's Wife, Sanaa Zainab Kaid?
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When you are a professional sports figure in New York, it can be difficult to keep your personal life under wraps. Social media becomes a full-time job, but Robert Saleh's wife Sanaa Saleh has found a way to flourish out of the spotlight. Sanaa attended Fordson High School, which also happens to be her husband's alma mater. The two were married in 2007, when Saleh was an assistant coach within the Houston Texans organization. The Salehs keep their marriage private, which allows Sanaa to devote a lot of her time to her non-profit organization, Sanaa's Stars.
Sanaa's non-profit centers around supporting children who have been sexually abused. The organization was founded in 2019 with the main goal of providing hope and love to children who have experienced abuse. "She just wants to bring light to people who are in a dark place in their life," Saleh said in support of his wife. "And the things that they do are pretty cool. And the amount of work that she's put into this is pretty cool."
When the NFL began allowing players to wear custom cleats supporting a cause important to them, Sanaa jumped at the chance to create a custom pair of Nike Air Force 1s for her husband.
"We have seven kids at home," the NFL coach said, highlighting sons, Adam, Zane, Michael, Sam, and Jacob, and daughters, Mila and Ella. "And the fact that she still finds time to put in the amount of work that she's been put in to get this thing she started and how much passion she has for this, it's just awesome. So, her cause, is always my cause and we are supporting Sanaa's Stars with these shoes."
Robert Saleh Makes NFL History
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Saleh's journey to the NFL isn't your typical "college football coach is poached to professional league" jump. After playing four years of football at Northern Michigan University, he put football behind him. However, his brother's harrowing escape from the 61st floor of the World Trade Center's South Tower on 9/11 changed Saleh's life in more ways than one. Following that event, he decided to pursue his dream of coaching football.
From there, Saleh got a job as an assistant coach at Michigan State, eventually moving to defensive assistant. After stints at Central Michigan and Georgia, he made the leap to the NFL with the Texans, the Seattle Seahawks, Jacksonville Jaguars, 49ers, before finally being named the head coach of the New York Jets of the National Football League, where he became the first Muslim Head Coach in NFL history. Saleh and his wife are proud of their ethnicity and speak Arabic to each other regularly.
The challenge of bringing the NY Jets to the Super Bowl is one that Saleh appears prepped and ready for after excelling at every coaching position in American Football. All that's left is getting to the Big Dance--he just has to stop the team's losing streak against the Patriots.
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