Zach Wilson’s dad told him of Jets press conference screw-up


Zach Wilson said what he said in that fateful postgame press conference following the Jets’ loss to the Patriots Sunday and he was about to board the team bus when his father texted him.

“Bro, what are you doing?’’ Mike Wilson asked his son.

“I didn’t realize what I said,’’ the 23-year-old second-year quarterback said Wednesday after being demoted to third-string in favor of Mike White. “I let my emotions get the best of me and it took ’til a little bit after when we were getting ready to leave and my pops gave me a call. It was before I even stepped on the bus. He shot me a text and said, ‘What did you say?’

“I was like, ‘I’m not sure.’ He sent [the TV clip] to me and instantly right there I knew I let my emotions get the best of me.’’

Wilson, after a miserable performance in the Jets 10-3 loss (during which he completed 9 of 22 for 77 yards), was asked if he felt like and the offense “let down’’ the defense. “No,’’ he said, before repeating, “No.’’

That set off a firestorm of criticism for a player who’s a team captain and the supposed face of the franchise.

Jets quarterback Zach Wilson speaks to the media after practice
Zach Wilson apologized to his Jets teammates after letting his emotions get to him during a press conference following a loss to the Patriots on Sunday.
Bill Kostroun

Bent on making it this right with his teammates, Wilson on Wednesday gathered the entire team together and addressed his teammates.

While speaking to reporters afterward, Wilson sounded sincere and humbled.

Asked when he knew he wanted to address his teammates, Wilson said, “The second it was brought to my attention of what I said. I just wanted to make this thing right. I had a sick feeling in my stomach. The way that I handled things is not what a leader should do — especially the quarterback of the football team in that situation.

“I had that sick feeling in my stomach. I just wanted to talk to the guys. It was the only thing I could think of the last couple of days — I wanted the opportunity to talk to those guys and really make it from the heart.’’

Wilson’s words and his sentiment, according to teammates, struck all the right chords.

Cornerback D.J. Reed was one of the players Wilson spoke to on the team bus after the New England game.

“Zach spoke to me after the game after he slipped up and said what he said and he apologized and said he didn’t mean it like that, that he was just frustrated,’’ Reed told The Post. “He wasn’t trying to show up the defense. I didn’t take it personal. A lot of guys didn’t take it personal.

“What he said today was very genuine; it came from his heart. It was very real. He definitely poured his heart out, to say the least. He’s a competitive guy who wants to get his starting job back, but at the same time he’s going to 100 percent support Mike [White, the new starter) and be a great leader, because he is one of our captains.

“If he didn’t already have it, he definitely earned and gained everyone’s respect from what he said today.’’

Veteran defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins, like Reed another important voice inside the locker room, told The Post, “I think it speaks to the type of man and teammate Zach truly is, and that you can’t look at his one moment of frustration and saying what he said and think that depicts who he is as a man, as a brother, as a teammate. It meant a lot for him to do that, because he didn’t have to.

“But for him to stand up in front of his brothers, his teammates and to break it down to us and let us know where he was coming from, it means a lot going forward and we’ve got his back.’’

Jets quarterbacks Zach Wilson (2), Joe Flacco (19) and Mike White (5)
Jets quarterbacks Zach Wilson (2), Joe Flacco (19) and Mike White (5) at practice on Wednesday.
Bill Kostroun for NY Post

Linebacker C.J. Mosley, another team captain, said Wilson’s message to the team was “that he has to do better.’’

“He said he’s putting everything on him, that he’s going to get better and that he’s not here to be a backup,’’ Mosley said. “It’s not the first time or the last that a young guy said something in the media that they didn’t mean or they spoke on emotions. I didn’t have any hard feelings, but what he did do was speak the team and apologize, and he spoke the truth.’’

Safety Will Parks called Wilson’s talk “keeping it real and it showed accountability.’’

Running back Michael Carter, one of Wilson’s closer friends on the team, called it “definitely a big deal’’ that Wilson addressed his teammates.

“He’s a man first, and for him to speak his mind and what he had to say, it showed everyone on the team who he is,’’ Carter told The Post. “It was really cool to see, because people were bashing him that he’s not an accountable person, and that’s totally wrong. He’s an accountable young man and we’re in his corner.’’

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