Jets owner Woody Johnson is living in two different worlds — a place where his football team is at the brink of Superbowl stardom and the harsh reality of the tragic loss of his 30-year-old daughter Casey Johnson. “One doesn’t help the other. The other is reality — I lost a daughter,” Woody told the NY Post, fighting back tears at the Jets training facility in Florham Park, NJ.
Casey was found dead in her L.A. home from unknown causes on Jan. 3, the day after the Jets scored a seat in the playoffs.
“I think of [Casey's death] all the time,” Woody told the NY Post. “It’s been a seesaw in terms of [grieving and] the business of the team. There’s no way to bring her back. I wish I could change it, but I can’t. This has been a brutal couple of weeks personally.”
Balancing his grief with the needs of his team was not easy for the Jets, who began the playoffs on Jan. 9 in Cincinnati against the Bengals amid the media frenzy surrounding Casey’s death — mainly focusing on her engagement to reality star Tila Tequila.
Woody defended his decision to travel to Cincinnati so close after his daughter’s death.
“I thought, ‘Geez, it would be kind of weird if I had asked the players to come to play a game after they had tragedy in their family and I don’t come,’ so I had to do it,” he said.
After the Jets beat the Bengals 24-14, head coach Rex Ryan presented Woody with the game ball in the locker room, according to the NY Post.
“When I got that ball that was just too many things hitting me at once,” Johnson said. “When you have a major loss, you have to show your emotions.”
Woody passed the ball along to his young son, Robert.
“He loves it,” he said. “I told him, ‘Mark Sanchez threw this ball.’ He’s only 3½, but he thinks it’s pretty good.”
The Jets vie for the AFC championship title Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts.
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