New York Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers suggested during a Tuesday appearance on “The Pat McAfee Show” that he’ll only play again this season if the team is “alive” in the playoff hunt when he’s cleared to face a live defense.
On Wednesday, Jets head coach Robert Saleh confirmed the club is opening Rodgers’ 21-day practice window.
“This isn’t so much getting ready to play but a progression of his rehab,” Saleh said about Rodgers during a news conference, per SNY.
Rodgers suffered a torn Achilles on Sept. 11, but it was first reported in the middle of October that the future Hall of Famer who turns 40 years old this coming Saturday was working toward playing potentially as soon as the Week 15 game at the Miami Dolphins on Dec. 17. That, however, was long before the Jets fell to 4-7 and to 15th in the overall conference standings.
As Rich Cimini noted for ESPN, the Jets have 21 days to either activate Rodgers or shut him down for the remainder of the campaign.
“There’s no added risk to it,” Saleh said about Rodgers officially returning to the practice field. “There are certain things that he’s been cleared for that we’re gonna allow for him to do.”
Before Saleh offered his update, the ESPN Football Power Index gave the Jets a 0.4% chance to make the playoffs. Gang Green next hosts the 5-6 Atlanta Falcons this coming Sunday. As of Wednesday afternoon, oddschecker listed the Jets as three-point underdogs against the Falcons.
“He is achieving things that have never been achieved with regards to this injury in its progression with regard to rehab,” Saleh added about Rodgers. “I think it’s remarkable what he is doing but I also think he is smart with regards to how fast it’s going.”
How “smart” Rodgers is or isn’t next month could be determined as soon as Sunday afternoon at MetLife Stadium. No matter the outcome of that game, it seems Rodgers simply wants to be back at work even as a non-playing participant.
“He wants to be with his teammates,” Saleh explained. “He wants to be here. I think he’s sacrificed so much already for the organization, for his teammates, for himself. And he’s doing it again. I think it’s a testament to who he is as a human.”