Jets’ Rodgers jogging, eyes practice in 2 weeks
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. – If New York Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers gets his wish, he will be back on the practice field in two weeks – only three months removed from surgery on his left Achilles.
“I’ve said that I’d love to be trending towards practicing by my birthday,” Rodgers said Tuesday during his weekly spot on the “Pat McAfee Show,” confirming a FOX Sports report.
Rodgers turns 40 on Dec. 2. It wouldn’t make sense to open his 21-day practice window on a Saturday, but Dec. 6 looms as a possibility. That would give him three weeks to prepare for the Jets’ Dec. 24 game against the Washington Commanders, his unofficial target for a return.
The four-time MVP has maintained throughout his recovery that his comeback is contingent upon the Jets being in contention. At 4-6, with a three-game losing streak, it looks bleak. Rodgers insisted the Jets aren’t out of it, citing the 2016 Green Bay Packers and 2009 New York Jets as teams that rallied from 4-6 to reach the NFC and AFC Championship Games, respectively.
The Jets might be sputtering, but Rodgers isn’t slowing down his rehab.
“No, not at all,” he said. “I find those two are mutually exclusive. The speed at which I’m doing the rehab has been the same from the beginning – push it as hard as we can every single day.”
Jets coach Robert Saleh said Rodgers has the green light to play once he’s cleared by doctors. The speculation, Saleh said, is “a moot point” until the doctors clear him.
Rodgers, 10 weeks removed from surgery, said he’s jogging on an Alter G treadmill. He confirmed that he sent a video of him jogging to Jets’ personnel to show how far along he is.
“Yeah, I like to keep in touch with the guys and let them know what my progress is,” he said from his rehab facility in the Los Angeles area. “I just sent a couple of the boys a video of me on the treadmill. They’re interested in my rehab and where I’m at.”
Rodgers said he still needs to build strength in his heel and his calf, which is prone to fatigue.
“Obviously we’re way ahead of common protocol,” he said. “The jogging, I think has exponentially improved the strength, and then it’s kind of sped up (the rehab). … Things have progressed pretty nicely these last few weeks.”
Rodgers said he expects to return to the team later this week. The Jets face the first-place Miami Dolphins at Met Life Stadium in the NFL’s first Black Friday game. His protégé, Zach Wilson, was benched Monday in favor of journeyman Tim Boyle. Rodgers suggested that Wilson is getting to much blame.
“We need a spark and, obviously, this was the decision that was made,” he said. “I feel for Zach. I love Zach. Zach’s such a great kid and I do think he still has a bright future in the league.
“This has been a tough go for all of us. A lot of times in these situations, there are certain guys that are the scapegoat. I think there’s enough blame to go around at a number of different positions. If you have 10 guys doing right on a play, and one guy not, it’s hard to be efficient.”
Rodgers said he feels “personal guilt” for getting injured. He was injured on the fourth play of the season, forcing Wilson – benched twice last season – into the lineup.
“I’m pissed that I wasn’t able to play, and frustrated that if I was out there, I feel like I’d be playing well and there would be different narratives around our team,” he said, adding that Wilson would’ve benefitted from watching him. “…So I’m disappointed and sad about that, but it is what it is.”