Aaron Rodgers’ 2023 NFL season hangs in the balance Monday night after the Jets’ star quarterback was tackled by Leonard Floyd mere minutes into the season’s first Monday Night Football game. While X-rays on the Rodgers’s ankle came back clean, there is a fear that the 39-year-old might have suffered an Achilles tendon injury, and the former NFL MVP did not return to the contest against the Buffalo Bills.
The injury to one of the NFL’s biggest stars has prompted a wave of backlash and finger-pointing, perhaps most notably from one of Rodgers’ former Green Bay teammates.
Furious Bakhtiari demands better
Packers offensive lineman David Bakhtiari took to X (formerly Twitter) on Monday night to blast the NFL and its team owners for refusing to invest in natural grass, which could help prevent the number of devastating leg injuries that occur in football players.
“How many more players have to get hurt on artificial turf?” Bakhtiari asked. “You (the owners) care more about soccer players than us.”
Fifteen of the 30 NFL stadia — including MetLife Stadium, where the New York Giants and Jets play — have playing surfaces made of artificial turf. Studies have repeatedly shown that turf fields are more likely to cause serious injuries, as a player’s cleat is more likely to get caught in the synthetic fibers that are meant to mimic the look of real bluegrass.
Bakhtiari also referenced the willingness of NFL owners to overhaul certain stadia in preparation for the 2026 FIFA World Cup in North America — and his post calls them out for not investing more heavily in the safety of NFL players.
Rodgers’ injury history
Since becoming a starting quarterback in 2008, Rodgers has suffered two major injuries that cost him at least seven games in an NFL season.
In 2013, Rodgers suffered a clavicle fracture that cost him seven games — Green Bay still found a way to win the NFC North that season. The Packers weren’t so lucky in 2017, as another clavicle injury saw Rodgers miss nine games, and the team finished third in its division.
Whether this injury leaves the Jets without their new franchise quarterback for an extended period remains to be seen, but the early signs are not positive for long-suffering New York fans.