Aaron Rodgers Activated From IR, Won’t Play Again Until Next Season

FLORHAM PARK, N.J.—Aaron Rodgers will remain on the practice field to continue working on his return for the New York Jets—for next season.

The four-time NFL MVP was activated from the injured reserve list Wednesday, a move coach Robert Saleh said is merely the next step in Rodgers’ rehabilitation from a torn left Achilles tendon.

The Jets had until Wednesday to activate Rodgers—whose 21-day practice window began Nov. 29—or he would revert back to IR for the rest of the season.

Instead, Rodgers will be able to participate at practice as part of New York’s 53-man roster. Players on IR can remain with the team but can’t practice.

“We’ve got the roster flexibility with all the different things that have happened over the course of the last couple of weeks,” Saleh said, referring to several other injuries suffered by Jets players. “It’s all part of his rehab and just having him out on the football field is a plus for everybody. It’s a plus for him, it’s a plus for his teammates, so we’re going to keep him on the 53.”

The 40-year-old Rodgers said Tuesday on “The Pat McAfee Show” he’s not yet 100 percent healthy and is still a few weeks away. He said if the Jets remained in the playoff hunt, he would have pushed to play Sunday against Washington, but New York was routed 30–0 and eliminated from postseason contention for the 13th straight year.

“He tried everything he could to get back,” Saleh said. “And, you know, who knows if the circumstances were different? Get a couple of these wins, maybe we’re having a different conversation. But I know he gave everything he could.”

Rodgers reiterated his goal has been to play “at least two years,” and he considered this season a “lost” year. So, he doesn’t anticipate next season being his last in the NFL.

“I think he’s going to play until his wheels fall off,” Saleh said. “I don’t think it’s one, two. I think he’ll go three, four, five, if he can. That’s just my opinion.”

Rodgers said during his appearance on “The Pat McAfee Show” that he has full faith in Saleh, general manager Joe Douglas and offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett, and the team needs to “reload” and not “rebuild” during the offseason.

“I appreciate it,” Saleh said of Rodgers’ endorsement. “He’s here every day, and it’s appreciated.”

Rodgers had surgery two days after his injury and was attempting to make the fastest return from a torn Achilles tendon of any known professional athlete. The operation reportedly included a “speed bridge”—an internal brace on the Achilles tendon—procedure that helps expedite the healing process.

He has made remarkable strides in his recovery, and Saleh even said last Friday the quarterback “looks normal” during his limited practice activities. Rodgers has been participating in individual and 7-on-7 drills while also taking snaps from under center and jogging, but he hasn’t yet done 11-on-11 team drills. The Jets had only a walkthrough practice Wednesday and Rodgers was estimated as a non-participant on the injury report.

Rodgers said Tuesday he would try to ramp things up this week if the Jets remained in contention, but now without a timetable, “obviously we can be as smart as we need to be.”

Meanwhile, quarterback Zach Wilson remains in the concussion protocol and didn’t participate in the walkthrough but is improving, according to Saleh. If Wilson can’t play Sunday, Trevor Siemian would start in his place. Brett Rypien also is on the roster.

“At this point in my career, especially, any chance I get to play is awesome,” the 31-year-old said. “If it happens, I’ll be ready. If not, hoping Zach’s coming back if he feels all right.”

NOTES: FB Nick Bawden, who has one of the Jets’ four touchdown runs this season, was released to make room on the roster for Rodgers. … DL John Franklin-Myers (hip) also didn’t practice during the walkthrough.

By Dennis Waszak Jr.

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