QB standing, watching Jets’ win from sidelines shows ‘he’s a freakazoid’

Sep 11, 2023; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; New York Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers (8) warms up before the game against the Buffalo Bills at MetLife Stadium.

Here are the latest news updates and possible return dates for Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers

Oct. 15, 9:45 p.m.

Rodgers, just five weeks from suffering what was believed to be a season-ending injury, watched Sunday’s win on the sideline. Head coach Robert Saleh called the 39-year-old quarterback’s recovery so far “unbelievable.”

“A lot of people I’ve talked to Iike, I won’t name names who have also had this, everyone is in awe that he’s even walking,” he said. “And for him to be on the sideline, standing the entire time, he’s a freakazoid.”

The head coach did not say if Rodgers had to clear it with anybody to be able to be on the sideline and that the decision was all the veteran quarterback’s doing.

“He said he wants to be on the sideline, he’s gonna be on the sideline,” Saleh said.

Oct. 15, 2:30 p.m.

Aaron Rodgers’ historically quick road to recovery continues.

The quarterback was again seen arriving at MetLife Stadium without the use of crutches prior to Sunday’s Week 6 matchup with the Philadelphia Eagles.

Rodgers was then spotted throwing passes to Jets cornerback Sauce Gardner on the field pregame not even five weeks since undergoing Achilles surgery.

The 39-year-old has expressed a desire to return by the end of the season and head coach Robert Saleh has said if anyone can do it, it would be Rodgers, but it’s still a tall task ahead.

Oct. 13, 7:35 p.m.

Regardless of whether or not Aaron Rodgers returns before the end of the season, the Jets quarterback does appear to be making good progress in his recovery from Achilles surgery.

In the latest installment of “One Jets Drive,” Rodgers is seen in the locker room prior to their game against the Kansas City Chiefs walking without the use of crutches – just three weeks after his initial surgery.

The 39-year-old still had a little bit of a limp in his walk, and when he ditched the crutches a team official told him to be careful, to which Rodgers replied, “chill out. Let me just do my thing, OK?”

The quarterback hung out by his locker and would get up and walk a bit to show off his progress in front of some teammates and Jets staff.

Rodgers has expressed a desire to return by the end of the season and head coach Robert Saleh has said if anyone can do it, it would be Rodgers, but it is still a tall task ahead.

Oct. 6, 12:15 p.m.

Jets head coach Robert Saleh, when asked about Rodgers’ potential this season, said that he “wouldn’t put anything past him.”

“I think he gets stronger when people say, ‘You can’t,'” Saleh said. “When people doubt him, I think he’s the type of guy that gets stronger. I think that’s why I like him so much — because when someone tells me I can’t do something, well, watch me. And it’s the same thing (with Rodgers). He’s got that mindset where, if someone tells him he’s not capable or something’s impossible, he’s like, ‘You’ll see.’ And so, no, I don’t put it past him.”

The question came on the heels of Rodgers saying on The Pat McAfee Show this week that he was “not going to put any timetables” on his possible comeback while still maintaining a “long-term goal” and that he would “see where we’re at in a couple months.”

“For the peace of mind, I think you’ve got to have some sort of long-term goal like (coming back this season),” Rodgers said. “Otherwise, the rehab becomes much more laborious and monotonous. I think that it’s important to have those long-term goals. Basically, whatever protocol’s out there — and there’s kind of a blanket six-to-12 months recovery time. I have some things working against me — I’m 39 years old. I’m the oldest player in the league. A lot of people have a really hard time coming back from this.

“However, I haven’t really paid any attention to that stuff. I just kind of have been making my own protocols and my own timetables — and, obviously, with the blessing of (Dr.) Neil (ElAttrache) and … everybody in my rehab place … and everybody at the Jets, it’s been saying, ‘Listen, this is what I want to do. Let me know the risks and let me know what I need to do from a muscle standpoint, which ones need to be firing the right way, in order for these things to happen and let’s attack this rehab as hard as we can and then see where we’re at in a couple months.’

“And, obviously, I’d like us to be alive and winning for that to even be in the conversation. But I don’t think it hurts at all to put that into the manifestations. And with all the modalities that we’re doing, I feel like we’re going to put ourselves in a position to make a decision at some point.”

As Rodgers referenced, the Jets — led by quarterback Zach Wilson — would likely need to be alive in the postseason for that.

“I’m just worried about this (game),” Saleh said with a laugh. “If that problem (of deciding between Rodgers and Zach Wilson) shows up, we’ll all be very happy.”

Rodgers revealed this week on his segment with McAfee that the Achilles is “just tight” and “not painful.”

“I went to the best surgeon in the country, so he did a fantastic surgery and has assured me, many times, I’m not going to rip that thing unless I do a number of calf stretches,” Rodgers said. “… But it’s not painful. It’s just a little stiff, for sure. Takes a little bit, in the first part of rehab, to kind of get that thing going. But I’ve got a great (team), great people on the West Coast of phenomenal people out here at the (rehab) facility.

“So, a lot of rehabs in my future and I look forward to the next goal — which, hopefully, I’ll be able to accomplish in a couple weeks.”

He also updated his recovery status following his return to MetLife Stadium for the Jets’ 23-20 Week 4 loss against the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday Night Football.

“No setbacks from the other night,” he said. “The first goal was really to be upright, to be out of a boot and to do some semblance of walking by the time I got back. I had this game circled on my schedule. I couldn’t fly until I got cleared again last week with no blood clots. Coming to the Sunday night game was always on the agenda, and that was the goal, so definitely met that one. Now, the next goal is to be able to walk without crutches.

“It’s pretty obvious — I’m well ahead of the normal protocols, when it comes to normal rehab for this kind of thing, but that was always what my mindset was … not adhering to those, being as smart as possible not trying to stretch the Achilles but stretch the Achilles in a way that allows me to start doing movement quicker and to just speed up whatever timeline has kind of been the standard for this type of injury.”

Oct. 1, 11:12 a.m.

For the first time since undergoing Achilles surgery, Rodgers rejoined his teammates on Saturday night, according to Dianna Russini of The Athletic.

Cleared by doctors to travel, Rodgers spoke at the Jets’ team meeting on Saturday night, “imploring them repeatedly not to point fingers during their rough start.”

Rodgers is expected to be at MetLife Stadium for Sunday night’s game against the Chiefs.

Sept. 29, 8:54 a.m.

Rodgers is planning to attend Sunday night’s Jets-Chiefs game at MetLife Stadium if he is cleared by doctors, per multiple reports.

If Rodgers is in attendance, it will be his first time at a game since suffering his Achilles injury in Week 1.

Rodgers was seen on crutches on Thursday, and will almost certainly be sitting in a box if he attends the game.

His plan has been to return to the sideline when he is mobile enough to get out of the way of plays that spill out of bounds.

Sept. 26, 2:36 p.m.

During his weekly spot on The Pat McAfee Show, Rodgers discussed the early stages of his rehab process.

“There’s been some good days and some bad days for sure, but last week was a good week of recovery and had a good day yesterday,” he said. “Sunday was the lightest day since I started rehab and also the worst day I’ve had in a while, but yesterday was a good day, today was a good day, making a lot of progress. Every day it’s something, a little less swelling, a little more movement, a little more mobility, a little more strength, so we’re building it up. It’s just a process.”

Rodgers could only watch as the Jets fell to 1-2 with their 15-10 loss to the New England Patriots on Sunday, saying that he missed being on the field with his teammates.

“It sucks not being there,” he said. “It’s tough. It’s really hard. I miss the guys. I miss the leadership opportunities. I miss balling, competing.”

The veteran QB also explained that he’ll likely head back to the New York area once he is able to walk on his surgically repaired Achilles, which typically comes about six weeks after surgery with the help of a walking boot.

Sept. 22, 3:06 p.m.

Rodgers opened up about his recovery from a torn left Achilles tendon, telling The Pat McAfee Show that he is “getting after the rehab this week” and setting goals.

“I’m actually in rehab right now,” Rodgers said. “You can see behind me — I’ve got my machines and s–t. I’m just getting after the rehab this week. It’s been — you know, it’s tough. It’s tough. Every single day is tough, not to be with the guys. Even when they check in or hear from coaches, whatever — it’s great, but it’s also disappointing not to be out there. But I’m just grinding on the rehab in here, looking forward to getting back out to Jersey at some point.”

Rodgers underwent surgery last week.

“It’s been great,” Rodgers said. “I’ve had so many people checking in on me. Again, just countless number of text messages and calls and FaceTimes — obviously, because I’m back in California. … I’ve got some people that have been staying with me that have been just fantastic. I’ve got my chef cooking up some incredible meals. So I’m well taken care of. I’d usually like to be the one taking care of people, so this is a time for me to just kind of sit and receive and try and find some joy in the process.

“It’s tough, though, it’s tough. It’s not easy, but there’s been some progressions with the rehab the last couple days that kind of gets the hope meter kind of trending upwards a little bit, the joy meter trending up a little bit.”

While Rodgers has hinted at a return and said last week that he is ready to “shock some people,” the 39-year-old did not put a timetable on his process.

“These type of injuries can take a lot of time — it can be 6-to-8, 12 months,” Rodgers said. “There’s been a few guys who have come back at four-and-a-half (months) — I think (running back) Cam Akers came back at four-and-a-half (months with the Los Angeles Rams in 2021), a couple guys at five months. So I don’t want to get caught into a timeline. I just want to get healthy, honestly — mentally and physically, honestly.

“But I’m going to do everything that I can, rehab-wise, to put myself in a position to be ready to play football again at some point. And that’s the goal. I mean, obviously, when this happened, there’s a lot of thoughts about, like, ‘Is that it? Do you just cash it in? You’re done?’ I just don’t feel like I am. So I’m going to put myself in a position to be able to play again and then it’ll be when that is.”

Earlier in the day, Robert Saleh told reporters that he hoped for Rodgers’ return to New Jersey soon.

“There’s definitely some goals,” Rodgers said. “The first goal was to get out of the cast, second goal would be to get out of the boot, which would coincide with walking, and then walking leads to movement, faster movement, and then ultimately some sort of running at some point. But yeah, we’re trying to — trying to get out of the boot is kind of the next goal.

“So when I feel the strength to be able to stand up on my own, and that’s involved with walking, then the boot comes off and then it kind of gets exciting I think — because then you feel like you’re not just a big turd laying around, everybody taking care of you. So that’ll be nice.”

Until then, Rodgers remains in constant contact with the Jets from the coaching staff to the players.

“Yeah, I’d like to be able to walk,” Rodgers said. “So whenever I can walk, then I’ll probably be back in Jersey. I miss the guys and, obviously, every single day, I’m checking in with Zach (Wilson) and (Nathaniel) Hackett and Todd (Downing) and … whoever hits me up. And guys have been great keeping in touch with me.

“But I miss the guys. It’s hard to be away from ’em. And we got a couple home games in a row — New England this weekend and then Kansas City — so hopefully I’ll be able to get back there at some point, but I’d like to be walking before I get back.”

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