The New York Jets opened Aaron Rodgers’ window to return to practice Wednesday, one day after the quarterback said he isn’t healthy enough to play right now as he recovers from tearing his Achilles tendon in Week 1. Here’s what you need to know:
- Rodgers said on “The Pat McAfee Show” on Tuesday he’s prioritizing his health first and will also consider the Jets’ AFC playoff position when gauging whether or not he’ll return this season. The Jets are 4-7, 15th in the AFC standings.
- The 39-year-old has 21 days to return to practice, but coach Robert Saleh emphasized Wednesday that Rodgers isn’t necessarily getting ready to play in games.
- New York has benched quarterback Zach Wilson, who originally filled in for Rodgers. The Jets turned to Tim Boyle in Week 12, which didn’t go well as the team lost to the Miami Dolphins.
Aaron Rodgers is cleared for “functional football activity”, Robert Saleh said. Not necessarily to play football.
So no one is ready to say he’s playing this season, but this is a huge step. #Jets
— Zack Rosenblatt (@ZackBlatt) November 29, 2023
What else Saleh said
Saleh indicated Wednesday the move is largely procedural, and that this is just the next step in Rodgers’ rehabilitation process. Saleh wasn’t ready to say whether Rodgers will be activated before the end of his 21-day window.
Rodgers is cleared for “functional football activity,” Saleh added, but not necessarily to play football. The quarterback was cleared by Dr. Neal ElAttrache, who operated on his Achilles, as well as Jets doctors.
Aaron Rodgers’ surgeon has high-profile clients, reputation for quick recovery
Rodgers will only join team drills when he’s cleared by doctors, the coach said, and it’s possible that will happen in the 21-day window.
“Aaron is not going to do anything that puts him in harm’s way,” Saleh said.
What Rodgers previously said
“It’s always been, first, am I healthy?” Rodgers said Tuesday when asked about a possible return this season. “Then are we alive or in it and good enough to make a run? Can I step in and protect myself and play at the level that I’m capable of playing. But the first part is the health. Can I protect myself? Can I move around the way I want to move around? So there’s a natural progression to the rehab. That’s going to involve actually getting back onto the field to start to do some things that are more football-related.
“But again, we’re still … we’re not where I can make a decision on playing because health-wise I’m improving steadily, but I’m not at an ability to play at this point.”
(Photo: Brad Penner / USA Today)