Jets QB Aaron Rodgers thought his career might be over after Achilles injury

Aaron Rodgers didn’t know what his NFL future held after he tore his Achilles four plays into the 2023 season.

Rodgers’ first year with his new team ended almost before it began after he suffered the injury, which tossed him and the Jets into a tumultuous season full of controversy and wild speculation about Rodgers’ possible return to the field. But in the moments after Rodgers left MetLife Stadium on Sept. 11, 2023, following the hit that ended up being an Achilles tear, the veteran said he didn’t know if he’d play football again.

“I was heartbroken on September 11 in the locker room thinking my career might be over and that’s how I’m going to go out,” Rodgers said on I Can Fly Pod. “After all the beauty of the summer and Hard Knocks and the new team … and then that. I look back now and so much changed in my life for the better.”

Rodgers added that he fell back in love with football when he joined the Jets following retirement speculation after 18 years with the Packers. And while the injury provided him a major setback professionally, Rodgers thinks what happened to him was for the better.

That’s all well and good, but the Jets hope his one-year break from the field leads to a more productive 2024 season. New York struggled mightily without a starting-caliber quarterback under center after cycling between Zach Wilson, Tim Boyle and Trevor Siemian in Rodgers’ absence.

And while there always appeared to be a glimmer of hope Rodgers would play in 2023, that idea never manifested — in part because the Jets were eliminated from playoff contention before he was cleared by doctors and also because there is a real likelihood he never would have been cleared even after the Jets brought him back to practice.

The hope for Rodgers and the Jets, now, is that their quarterback is fully healed and the players they added in free agency will be enough to take the team over the top. The offensive line should be better with Tyron Smith, Morgan Moses and John Simpson and the team also signed veteran wide receiver Mike Williams to give Rodgers a second first-round-caliber player on the outside.

New York also owns the No. 10 pick in the 2024 NFL draft — a spot that could be crucial if a great player drops or if the Jets want to move back in the draft and acquire more picks.

At the very least, though, Rodgers sounds like someone ready to get back out on the field — something he didn’t know would be a possibility almost seven months ago.


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