Aaron Rodgers and Robert Saleh suggest Jets QB plans to play again

Two days after suffering a season-ending torn left Achilles tendon, Aaron Rodgers hinted on social media that he plans to return to the New York Jets.

“The night is darkest before dawn,” he wrote in a post shared to his Instagram account on Wednesday. “And I will rise again.”

Rodgers’ first public comments since his injury came hours after Jets coach Robert Saleh told reporters he would be “shocked” if the 39-year-old allowed this to end his career. Saleh also reiterated his team’s commitment to Zach Wilson, the No. 2 overall pick in 2021, who struggled mightily in his first two seasons as the Jets’ starting quarterback.

“I am completely heartbroken and going through all the emotions,” Rodgers wrote on Wednesday, less than 48 hours after his devastating lower leg injury, “but deeply touched and humbled by the support and love.” Please remember me and pray as I I’m starting the healing process today.”

At his weekly media session on Wednesday, Saleh said Rodgers was consulting with specialists about how best to perform the surgery to repair the injury. The quarterback’s recovery plan could take six months or possibly longer, meaning he will almost certainly miss the remainder of the 2023 season. However, if his rehabilitation goes well, Rodgers has a good chance of playing next year if he chooses.

After restructuring his contract in July to give the Jets significant salary cap savings, Rodgers said he sees himself in a “couple-year partnership” with the team. His revised contract calls for $75 million in guaranteed salary and bonuses this season and next (according to Over the Cap), with a non-guaranteed option for 2025 and several “void” years thereafter, which are only intended to distribute the Jets’ annual contribution when the salary cap is reached.

Saleh said Wednesday that he had not yet discussed future plans with Rodgers, saying, “It will be.” The The last thing I talk to him about.”

“I didn’t go down that road with him,” the third-year coach added. “I mean, I would be shocked if he acted like that. But at the same time, he’s working through a whole lot of headaches, things he has to deal with.”

Saleh said he thinks it’s “very important” that Rodgers stays connected to his new team after surgery.

“It’s important for him, his mental health and healing,” Saleh said. “But his presence, his words, his diction… he’s as much a football coach as he is a player. Just his presence, his thoughts, his words and his leadership – I think that’s what everyone would want.”

Asked if Rodgers could participate in the Jets’ offensive discussions via a headset like he did in preseason, Saleh said teams are limited in the number of personnel who can use one, but added with a laugh: “Shoot if.” he wants a headset, he can have one.”

Since joining the Jets in April, Rodgers has served as a mentor to Wilson, who had the lowest passer rating and completion percentage last season among quarterbacks who played in at least eight games. During a terrible, nationally televised performance in December against the visiting Jacksonville Jaguars, Wilson was booed off his home field and subsequently benched for the Jets’ final two games.

However, Wilson was suddenly pressed into duty in impressive fashion on Monday and did reasonably well. He completed 14 of 21 passes for 140 yards, a touchdown and an interception, helping the Jets recover from the shock of Rodgers going down and beating the favored Bills 22-16 in overtime.

“I want to be very clear – Zach is our quarterback,” Saleh said Tuesday. “We are working with Zach and are excited for him and the opportunity he will have.”

On Wednesday, Saleh praised Wilson’s great “confidence.”

“The simple things don’t look hard anymore,” he said. “I mean, he comes back there and does the basic things so well. His footwork is incredible.”

As for the possibility of bringing in a more experienced signal-caller, the coach said the Jets were still going through that process and “didn’t feel pressured” to do so right away.

“Just getting a new quarterback in and playing — that’s going to take some time,” Saleh said.

Saleh described Wilson and Tim Boyle, a fifth-year player who was called up from the Jets’ practice squad to serve as the new backup quarterback, as “our guys.”

Regarding the general mood of his entire team, Saleh said that everyone was in a “really good mood.”

“I speak for the locker room: everyone believes in themselves and we believe we have a really good football team,” he said. “We have a championship defense, we have great guys on offense, we have a [offensive] line that continues to strengthen and we have great confidence in Zach.”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/2023/09/13/aaron-rodgers-robert-saleh/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=wp_homepage Aaron Rodgers and Robert Saleh suggest Jets QB plans to play again

Ian Walker

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