New York Jets offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett says he isn’t looking to be the center of attention in a matchup against his former team. But that isn’t stopping his players from wanting to win one for him.

Jets center Connor McGovern told ESPN’s Rich Cimini that the team would love to get “payback” for Hackett against the Denver Broncos.

The Week 5 matchup between the two clubs was circled by many this offseason after current Denver head coach Sean Payton said the 2022 Broncos – led by Hackett – “might have been one of the worst coaching jobs in the history of the NFL.” Payton later called his comments a “mistake.”


“He’s a phenomenal coach, crazy smart, and he makes meetings really fun and easy to learn. So, he’s definitely a guy that you want to play hard for,” McGovern said. “Then to go to a place that was dogging a guy that’s so nice and so good at his job, and for him to get thrown under the bus and dragged through the mud, you definitely want to play that much harder.”

Hackett refused to delve into questions about Payton on Thursday, instead wanting to keep the discussion focused on the players.

“This game is about those guys out on that field,” said the Jets offensive coordinator. “This game is not about me. It’s about me helping them during the week. I just want the guys to go out there and play a great game.”

Hackett noted that Payton hasn’t reached out to him since making those remarks in July, per SNY.

The Broncos fired Hackett before the end of his first season following a 4-11 showing. They’ve started the 2023 campaign 1-3 with Payton in charge.

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