Jets QB Aaron Rodgers concedes he won't play again this season, says 2024 won't be last in NFL 

With the New York Jets officially eliminated from postseason play, Aaron Rodgers has conceded he won’t see the field again in 2023.

During his weekly Tuesday appearance on The Pat McAfee Show, Rodgers said if he were 100%, he’d be “definitely pushing to play,” but it isn’t realistic 14 weeks post-surgery.

“I think the whole time it’s been hoping that we’re still in it because it was unrealistic to think that I would be 100 percent to be medically cleared at any point during the regular season,” Rodgers said. “I do feel like in the next three to four weeks, it would have been very possible to get to 100 percent, but obviously not there. So the conversation was a way from 100 percent medical clearance to willingness to play, and that’s never been a problem for me.”

In the immediate aftermath of the Week 1 Achilles tear, the hope was Rodgers might be able to return if the Jets could make the playoffs. In the following months, we learned that the MVP quarterback had a “speed bridge” placed on his torn Achilles to help the healing process. Rodgers pushed the discussion, suggesting he could possibly return before the playoffs if everything fell correctly.

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Ultimately, Rodgers returning early felt like a pipe dream, and the Jets’ efforts to remain in the hunt to keep those hopes alive proved to be too tall a task.

After opening the practice window for the QB on Nov. 29, the Jets have until Wednesday to activate him to the roster or shut him down for the duration of the season.

With Rodgers acknowledging he won’t return this season, thoughts spin to 2024 and beyond.

The four-time NFL MVP on Tuesday called 2023 a “lost year,” playing only three official snaps, and therefore doesn’t believe next season will be his last in New York, aiming to play multiple years with Gang Green.

“I don’t think so,” he said when asked if next year would be his final season. “I felt like when I came here that I got kind of a renewed passion and love for the game, and everything has been amazing here. Just the people I have gotten to work with, the relationships I’ve gotten to form with my teammates, the amazing men and women who work here. … I wanted at least two years, I feel like this year is kind of a lost year. I only played a couple of snaps, wasn’t able to go out there and prove what I’m capable of and see what we’re capable of as a team.

“I don’t think next year will be my last year. With some of the things that I’ve learned over the last year in taking care of my body and surrounding myself with some great people who have been helping me with my nutrition and my functional training at an acute level. I feel like I can play more years and be effective into my 40s, which is crazy because I thought I would be sitting on my couch somewhere at 40, but now I want to be a starter at 40, I want to be a starter at 41. I want to see what I can get out of this body. I believe in the leadership that we have here. I believe in our guys. I think it’s not a situation where we have to rebuild. We need to reload a little bit, and there will be some tough decisions for sure. But I like the pieces we have in place.”

With the Jets cratering sans their starting quarterback and the offense a mess, heat has begun to ratchet up on general manager Joe Douglas, head coach Robert Saleh  and offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett in New York.

If Rodgers has his way, there won’t be a full reboot at Florham Park.

“I believe in Joe Douglas,” Rodgers said on Tuesday. “I think he’s put together a lot of great drafts and a great roster. We obviously had a number of difficult injuries this season. I believe in Robert Saleh. He’s a fantastic coach. I think he’s about the right stuff. What you emphasize, you’re going to get, and I think he emphasizes the right things, being about the right stuff, how to be a professional.

“I believe in Nate Hackett. Always have. I think the offense that he runs is quarterback-friendly. Obviously, it was geared to me and my abilities and what I do well, and my ability to get to the line of scrimmage and get us into a good play and to survive bad plays. I think that’s as big a role for a quarterback to do as anything. How do we survive a play that maybe nobody is open or somebody is beaten right away or it just doesn’t look good pre-snap. That’s part of a quarterback’s job. It’s not just splash plays. It’s make the right play when things don’t look great.”

Rodgers preached patience instead of cleaning house, as some New York fans have called for in recent weeks.

“(The pressure) comes with playing in New York and being a Jet – or a Giant,” he said. “It’s a great media, very passionate. Our fanbase is incredibly passionate. 13 years without going to the playoffs is tough, so naturally that’s the reaction from fans across the league albeit sometimes misguided. I think people want snap decisions.”

Snap is what Rodgers’ Achilles did on the first drive of the season. Without a stabilizing backup quarterback who could manage the Jets behind a struggling offensive line, the 2023 season floated into darkness as Zach Wilson, Tim Boyle and Trevor Siemian have taken snaps under center for New York.

Gang Green was riding high all offseason, believing they finally had the answer to their playoff prayers. The only positive vibe they experienced was Rodger running out of the tunnel in Week 1 with an American flag. The QB doesn’t believe that singular moment will be his only one in New York.

“We’re going to have more moments like that,” he said on Tuesday. “That won’t be the lasting image that you see of me in a Jets jersey. There’s going to be a lot more amazing things to come. It’s going to be a long offseason, for sure. And Jets fans, it’s going to be an extremely long offseason. But the light is darkest before the dawn, and we’re going to rise again, and it’s going to be exciting.”

Hope floats into 2024.

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