Aaron Rodgers played just four snaps for the New York Jets in 2023 after tearing his Achilles in a game against the Buffalo Bills in Week 1 of the NFL season.
Despite the major injury, Rodgers’ bid to return to the field in record time was the main storyline of the Jets’ season as they attempted to stay in playoff contention.
Rodgers returned to practice in late November but ruled out a return after the Jets were eliminated from the playoffs.
On Friday, Rodgers was voted by his teammates as the Jets’ most inspirational player.
“He wanted to be here,” head coach Robert Saleh said, according to the Jets website. “I think he’s sacrificed so much already for the organization and himself and his teammates, and he’s doing it again. I think it’s a testament to who he is as a human. Yeah, obviously, there’s a little bit of that drive where he wants to prove that it can be done faster than anyone’s ever done before. That’s OK. That is just part of his mental makeup.
“I think he still runs with a chip on his shoulder, and that’s the way he lives his life, where he always wants to prove people wrong, in terms of doubting him and he’s a special human. I think his actions are showing and how much he appreciates this organization and everything around it.”
New York traded for the four-time MVP in the offseason, looking for a quarterback to put them over the top with a championship-level defense.
After drafting Zach Wilson with the second-overall pick of the 2021 NFL Draft, the Jets looked to give Wilson a reset behind Rodgers after two disappointing seasons.
The plan was quickly foiled as Rodgers tore his Achilles tendon on just the fourth play from scrimmage against the Bills on Monday Night Football.
Wilson took over under center before being benched for Weeks 12 and 13 as Tim Boyle got the start. Wilson returned in Week 14 against the Houston Texans before suffering a concussion the following week.
Rodgers has made it clear that he will return in 2024 and possibly 2025 in a December appearance on “The Pat McAfee Show.”
“When I came here, I got kind of a renewed passion and love for the game,” Rodgers said, according to Fox Sports. “I don’t think next year will be my last year. With some of the things that I’ve learned this year about taking care of my body and surrounding myself with some creative people who have helped me with my nutrition and functional training at a more acute level, I feel I can play more years and I can be effective into my 40s.”
The Jets wrap up their season against the New England Patriots on Sunday.