New York Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers said Tuesday that he’s “obviously, ahead of schedule” in his extraordinary attempt to return from a torn achilles tendon, but added that it “makes absolutely no sense” to have a specific timetable for return.
The four-time NFL Most Valuable Player, who went down with the injury only four snaps into his New York debut and had surgery on 13 September, reasserted his desire to play again in 2023 while tempering expectations during his weekly appearance on ESPN’s The Pat McAfee Show.
Rodgers, who turns 40 in December, surprised many onlookers by walking without crutches and throwing for five minutes before Sunday’s game at MetLife Stadium, where the Jets upended the previously unbeaten Philadelphia Eagles to improve to 3-3 on the year.
“You have to hit a bunch of different things and be found a certain way, but that’s the goal,” Rodgers said of the various markers in his recovery before he can move toward a return to the active roster. Those will be followed by “practicing and everybody signing off on it. Hopefully, we get to have those conversations.”
He added: “It’s not just going to be boom, boom, boom, boom, boom. There are critical markers that I have to hit as far as single-leg strength and being able to do heel raises and being able to do explosive movements. And these are all progressions that take time.”
Jets coach Robert Saleh is prepared to move forward with Zach Wilson under center, but acknowledged that Rodgers is “definitely one of those individuals that is fueled by doubt” and won’t rule anything out.
“If you doubt him, it only makes him stronger because he has this, ‘Oh, you’re telling me I can’t do something? Then I am going to show you I can,’” Saleh said. “He’s going to prove you wrong.”