Aaron Rodgers’ road to recovery from a torn Achilles injury has taken a huge turn for the New York Jets.
Head coach Robert Saleh confirmed Wednesday afternoon that the team will open the 21-day practice window for Rodgers – a move that comes after Rodgers returned to the team facility this week. While the organization made clear that the move was part of the “next step in his rehab” and not an indication of when he would return to game action, the roster move was a clear sign of Rodgers continuing to defy modern medicine.
The four-time NFL MVP tore his Achilles just 79 days ago and has been cleared for “functional football activity” according to Saleh. The Jets’ head coach explained that Rodgers would be able to participate in individual activities and routes on air but would be on the side field for most of that action.
With the roster IR designation, New York will have 21 days to activate Rodgers or the rest of the season will be done. Gang Green could also activate Rodgers within that time frame and not play him while leaving him inactive as well – something they have done with Duane Brown over the last few weeks.
“You are allowed a certain amount of IR designations,” Saleh explained. “We’re in this position where we have some extra space. So the technicality of it is either he’s doing everything he’s cleared for off to the side or with his teammates.”
Rodgers has already made it clear that he would not return to game action if he was not cleared by doctors. He also mentioned on the Pat McAfee Show Tuesday that the Jets would have to be alive in the AFC Playoff race for him to return at all in 2023.
New York currently sits at 4-7 on the year and has a less than 1% chance to make the playoffs at this current point.
With all that being said though, the fact that Rodgers is back on the practice field is not only a modern medical miracle but shows that the quarterback is more than focused on helping this team for the remainder of the year and in 2024.
Rodgers took part in Jets practice and was noted as a limited participant. The future Hall-of-Fame quarterback was seen stretching with some other players in the rehab area and warming up with routes on air during specific portions of practice.
“The cool thing about Aaron Rodgers is he brings so much wisdom & perspective to the QB room,” Jets current starting quarterback Tim Boyle said. “He just brings so much wisdom & confidence. He asks the tough questions in the QB room, trying to make me think on the next level.”