Former Falcons Assistant Greg Knapp Dies From Accident Injuries

Greg Knapp

Todd Kirkland/Getty Images Quarterbacks coach Greg Knapp speaks with Matt Ryan and Matt Schaub of the Atlanta Falcons during a game on October 27, 2019.

On Thursday former Atlanta Falcons assistant coach Greg Knapp passed away at the age of 58 as a result of injuries suffered when he was hit by a car while riding his bicycle. The news came via an announcement posted by his alma mater, Sacramento State.

Mike Klis of 9News Colorado also confirmed the sad news via Knapp’s agent, Jeff Sperbeck, who told Klis: “Today at 11:32 am PST, Greg Knapp (aka Knapper) was called back home to Heaven….”

Per ESPN Staff Writer Rich Cimini, Knapp was struck by single motorist on Saturday afternoon, very near his home in Danville, Calif. “The driver of the vehicle, whose name is being withheld, wasn’t under the influence of drugs or alcohol and is cooperating with the ongoing investigation, according to [San Ramon] police,” relates Cimini.

Sperbeck also provided more detail about the accident, saying that the impact caused Knapp to be rendered unconscious–and that he never regained consciousness. At the time of his death, Knapp was surrounded by his mother, wife, three daughters and his brother.

He was just days away from flying to the East Coast to join the New York Jets for training camp, where he was set to begin his first season as the Jets’ passing game coordinator.

In the wake of Knapp’s passing, Falcons owner Arthur Blank tweeted out a remembrance:

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Greg Knapp Had 2 Separate Stints with Falcons

Between 2018 and 2020 Greg Knapp spent three seasons as quarterbacks coach for the Atlanta Falcons, helping Matt Ryan pass for 13,971 yards (most in the league over that time span), with 87 touchdown passes, a 66.9% completion percentage and a 97.7 passer rating.

But he was not retained by new head coach Arthur Smith and moved on to join Robert Saleh’s New York Jets staff, having been hired on January 21, 2021. This year was to be his 26th season as an NFL coach, with the last 22 years spent as either a quarterbacks coach or offensive coordinator.

In fact, his recent stint with the Falcons was his second go-round with the organization, having served as offensive coordinator for the Michael Vick-led Falcons between 2004-06. Vick is one of 13 different Pro Bowl players Knapp has coached, a list that also includes quarterbacks Jeff Garcia (2000-02), Peyton Manning (2013-14) and Steve Young (1998), indicative of the time Knapp has spent with the San Francisco 49ers and Denver Broncos, not to mention several other NFL teams. More notably, in nine different years he has been part of a 4,000+ yard passing season.

Knapp’s Coaching Career Got Underway in the Bay Area

Greg Knapp started his NFL career in San Francisco, serving as an offensive quality control coach (1995-97) before being promoted to quarterbacks coach (1998-2000) and then offensive coordinator (2001-03).

Prior to that he worked at Sacramento State (1986-94), serving as running backs coach for five seasons before moving up to assistant head coach/offensive coordinator for the remainder of his time at the school.

Before beginning his coaching career, he was a quarterback at Sacramento State (1982-85), setting school passing records and leading the Hornets to an 8-3 campaign during his senior season. According to a 2016 profile in the Sacramento Bee, Knapp chose the school because it was “desperate for talent,” as the then-non scholarship program won a total of just five games in the five seasons between 1976-80.

“It all started at Sac State for me. I learned to play there, learned to coach there, got my degree there, my master’s there, my teaching credential. I loved Sacramento,” he told Joe Davidson of the Sacramento Bee.

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