Lebron James, NFL Stars Defend Zach Wilson Over Media Jabs At N.Y. Jets QB

Oct 2, 2023, 5:46 PM


Zach Wilson #2 of the New York Jets throws a pass against the Kansas City Chiefs during the first quarter in the game at MetLife Stadium on October 01, 2023 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Dustin Satloff/Getty Images)

(Photo by Dustin Satloff/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITYNBA star LeBron James joined NFL stars in defending New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson after he received jabs from the media following Week 4’s Sunday Night Football game.

Zach Wilson praised, defended & criticized after Sunday Night Football

Wilson and the Jets hosted the reigning Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs at MetLife Stadium on Sunday, October 1.

The former BYU quarterback posted a strong performance despite a rocky start to his NFL career. Unfortunately for Wilson, the Jets fell to the Chiefs, 23-20.

In the fourth quarter, the third-year quarterback fumbled a snap and the Jets never got the ball back before falling in the one-score game.

After the game, Wilson took ownership of the loss. He told his teams things like “I lost the game. It’s my fault, bro,” and “I cannot do that.”

Taking the blame was a sign of growth from Wilson off the field after he showed signs of improvement in the three-point loss. Last season, Wilson failed to shoulder the blame for a poor performance during a postgame press conference. A year later, the quarterback showed signs of maturity.

LeBron James on Zach Wilson

Following the game, Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James praised Wilson‘s performance and advised the quarterback to take the loss in stride.

“Helluva game kid! You win as a team and lose as a team… Keep ya head up high and keep pushing forward. If it was easy, everyone would do it,” James posted on his Instagram story.

Rodney Harrison on Zach Wilson

Despite James’ support, Wilson’s strong performance wasn’t enough to prevent some criticism after the game. Former NFL defensive back and NBC Sport’s Rodney Harrison criticized the former BYU standout before and after the Sunday Night Football game.

Before kickoff, Harrison called out Wilson for “missing wide-open guys” during pregame warmups.

Chris Jones on Zach Wilson

After the game, Harrison said Wilson “is garbage” during a postgame conversation with Chiefs star Chris Jones. The Kansas City standout disagreed with the take.

“Honestly, if I’m being completely honest, we knew it was gonna be a battle,” Jones said preparing to play Wilson. “He’s continuing to get better week in and week out, and he’s continuing to lead week in and week out.”

Jones added that he thinks Wilson is a “special” player.

“Did you say Zach Wilson is special?” Harrison asked. “I don’t think he’s special…He’s not special.”

Matt Leinart on Zach Wilson

Former NFL quarterback and current FOX Sports analyst Matt Leinart called Harrison’s comments “complete garbage.”

“This is trash. Our job in media is to analyze and critique not to rip these guys apart especially after a great game,” Leinart posted on social media.

Micah Parsons on Zach Wilson

James, Jones, and Leinart weren’t the only professional athletes to defend Wilson.

Dallas Cowboys star Micah Parsons, who sacked Wilson twice during the Cowboys’ Week 2 win over the Jets, called Harrison’s remarks a “fraudulent move” and said the Jet quarterback has improved on a weekly basis.

“You can’t say he’s not a good QB. He’s a starting QB in the NFL,” Parsons said of Wilson. “I get we all love the game of football but at the end of the day, we gotta remember Zach is a human being.”

Taylor Lewan on Rodney Harrison’s comments about Zach Wilson

NFL free agent Taylor Lewan joined the Up and Adams show and said that he didn’t understand why Harrison made his comments on Wilson.

“People need to put into perspective how hard it is to get into the NFL alone. So, to say the word, special, the scale we’re using, is he special as far as like a top-tier quarterback in the NFL right now? No. The statistics show that. It’s a consensus. He’s not special in that way, but he made it to the NFL, and he’s doing the best he can,” Lewan said. “He’s kept his nose clean. He’s done a great job. He seems like he’s handled himself really well on Hard Knocks. I just don’t get the shot. I do not understand it.”

RELATED: Patrick Mahomes: Zach Wilson ‘Played His Tail Off’ On Sunday Night Football

Wilson finished the contest 28/39 passing for 245 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran the ball twice for 14 yards. Wilson was sacked twice and lost a fumble. The third-year pro posted a rating of 105.2.

Zach Wilson’s Touchdowns

With 10:40 remaining in the third quarter, Wilson connected with Allen Lazard for 10 yards and six points. It was Wilson’s second touchdown pass of the game. After the touchdown, the quarterback scrambled and dove for a two-point conversion.

Wilson’s touchdown and two-point conversion tied the game at 20-20.

Wilson’s first touchdown came with 6:26 left in the first half. The former BYU star floated a pass to the far corner of the end zone and into the hands of Jets tight end C.J. Uzomah. The one-yard touchdown cut Kansas City’s lead to 17-12.

Wilson entered the contest having thrown for 467 yards, two touchdowns, and four interceptions this season.

With the loss, the Jets fell to a 1-3 record this season. The team has lost its last three games.

New York’s next game is on the road against the Denver Broncos on Sunday, October 8 at 2:25 p.m. (MDT). The game will be broadcast on CBS and NFL Sunday Ticket.

About Zach Wilson

Before his time in the NFL, the Corner Canyon High School product had a standout career at BYU. Wilson helped the Cougars to an 11-1 record during his final season in Provo.

Following his college career, the Jets selected Wilson with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.

During the quarterback’s rookie season, Wilson missed four games due to a knee injury. He finished the year throwing for 2,334 yards, nine touchdowns, and 11 interceptions with a 55.6 completion rate.

Before his second season, the former BYU star underwent surgery after suffering a knee injury in New York’s preseason opener. Without Wilson, the Jets opened the 2022 season with a 1-2 record. After returning, the Jets posted a 5-2 record before Wilson was benched for the first time. After a month on the sidelines, Wilson returned to action for a couple of contests before he was benched again.

Last season, the Jets posted a 7-10 record and missed the NFL Playoffs.

RELATED: Zach Wilson Discusses Taking Over As New York Jets’ Starting QB

Wilson finished the 2022 season having thrown for 1,688 yards, six touchdowns, and seven interceptions with a 54.5 percent completion rate. He has a rating of 72.9 and a QBR of 37.1. The Jets missed the playoffs with a 7-10 record.

During his first two seasons in the league, Wilson passed for 4,022 yards, 15 touchdowns, and 18 interceptions. He also ran for 287 yards and five touchdowns.

Kyle Ireland is a Sports Producer and Locals in the NFL Insider for KSLSports.com. He’s also co-host of the Yards After College Podcast. Follow him on X/Twitter (@kyleireland), Instagram (@kyleirelandksl), and Threads (@kyleirelandksl).

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Lebron James, NFL Stars Defend Zach Wilson Over Media Jabs At N.Y. Jets QB