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Mike Westhoff says Jets’ firing of Bobby April was ‘cowardice’

New York Jets special teams coordinator Mike Westhoff

New York Jets special teams coordinator Mike Westhoff gestures during Jets rookie minicamp in Florham Park, N.J. (May 4, 2012) Credit: Getty

Forget about that Mike Westhoff reunion, Jets fans.

A day after the organization fired special-teams coordinator Bobby April after one season, the former assistant coach expressed zero interest in returning to the Jets’ sideline.

“No, I don’t. I really don’t,” Westhoff said Thursday during an ESPN New York radio interview. “I told a general manager who offered me a job two years ago . . . Forget it, I’m not coming back. Thanks for asking.”

Since Westhoff retired as their special-teams coordinator after the 2012 season, the Jets have hired and fired three replacements: Ben Kotwica, Thomas McGaughey and April. On Thursday, Westhoff took a shot at the Jets for using April as a scapegoat.

“I don’t like the fact that only after one year you would fire Bobby April,” he said. “I know him, but it’s not like this is a friend of mine. I’m very disappointed in the fact that happened. Frankly, I’ll tell you exactly how I feel. I think it’s cowardice. And that’s a one-word synonym for the two-word phrase I really think.”

The Jets’ special teams played poorly this season, allowing four touchdowns. Punt returner Jeremy Kerley made few big plays. Asked earlier this week if he was disappointed by the unit’s performance, coach Todd Bowles said, “At times. I mean, the returns, yes. We have to make tackles here and there. Sometimes, we have to make plays. We didn’t make enough plays sometimes with the defense, sometimes with the offense, sometimes with the special teams.”

However, Westhoff noted that the organization failed to give April much to work with, in particular the return specialists. The TV-radio analyst also said the Jets had other issues, namely on defense, that contributed to some of their key losses.

“You can’t let Buffalo beat you twice, guys, if you think you’re good enough to play in the playoffs. You can’t do that,” Westhoff said. “But anyways, what [April’s firing] says to me is: ‘Well, we’ve got to blame somebody. So, let’s blame these guys.’ Yes, they did have a tough year. It wasn’t a good year.

“But nonetheless, they made tremendous moves as a staff when they came in and how they fortified this football team . . . They made a lot of moves and they did a good job. But they didn’t do anything with special teams. They did nothing. Zero. So why would you think it’d be that good?

“Maybe if there were some things we don’t know, maybe some mandates that they asked and didn’t get done. Well, then I understand that. But you know, you gave the guy a chance, you gave him one year and you didn’t do anything to help him out. What makes you think all of a sudden they’re going to be pretty good? It’s not going to happen.”

Notes & quotes: Nick Mangold, who was voted a Pro Bowl alternate, will replace injured Dolphins center Mike Pouncey in the game . . . The Jets signed defensive back Kendall James to a reserve/future contract.

New York Sports