Aaron Rodgers spoke publicly on Friday for the first time since suffering a season-ending Achilles tendon injury on "Monday Night Football." He does not sound ready to retire.
The New York Jets quarterback told "The Pat McAfee Show" he "knew right away this was not a good situation" and he'd torn his Achilles. The 39-year-old 18-year veteran then spoke about his future in football.
"Give me the doubts," Rodgers told McAfee. "Give me the timetables. Give me all the things you think can, should or will happen, because all I need is that one little extra percent of inspiration. That's all I need.
"Give me your doubts. Give me your prognostications. And then watch what I do."
"Give me the doubts. Give me the timetables. Give me all the things you think can, should or will happen because all I need is that 1 little extra percent of inspiration. Give me your prognostications. And then watch what I do"
- Aaron Rodgers
(via @PatMcAfeeShow) pic.twitter.com/pGNhs59jUk
— Jets Videos (@snyjets) September 15, 2023
Rodgers told McAfee the immediate aftermath of the injury that sidelined him four plays into his Jets career was "one of the toughest 24-hour stretches I've had in my life."
“Amazing night, running on the field with the flag, electric. And then it turned into one of the toughest 24-hour stretches I’ve had in my life.”
Aaron Rodgers shares what was going through his head after suffering a torn Achilles.
(via @PatMcAfeeShow) pic.twitter.com/9FAjmehw9R
— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) September 15, 2023
"Then it turned into one of the toughest 24-hour stretches I've had in my life, for sure," Rodgers said. "Lot of sadness, lot of tears, lot of dark frustration and anger — all the gamut of emotions.
"The sun rose the next day, and I found myself in LA and had surgery on Wednesday."
Rodgers told McAfee he was overwhelmed with the messages of support that came from former teammates and players around the league as well as complete strangers.
“I think I shed just as many tears about the support and the nice messages than just the sadness of what happened,” he said.
Rodgers' debut with the Jets after an 18-year stint with the Green Bay Packers, that included four MVP trophies and a Super Bowl victory, was one of the most anticipated moments of the new NFL season. His injury was a crushing blow to a Jets team with Super Bowl aspirations and the NFL as a whole.
Behind a stout defense and a strong running game anchored by second-year back Breece Hall, the Jets went on to defeat the Buffalo Bills on Monday despite Rodgers' absence. Third-year pro Zach Wilson, who was benched last season because of poor performance, played quarterback in his stead and will continue to start for the Jets, according to head coach Robert Saleh.
When asked if he thought he could return for the postseason, Rodgers said, with a smirk: "Anything is possible."
Pat McAfee: "Are you coming back for the playoffs this year?"
Aaron Rodgers: "I'm not gonna make any of those statements. I don't feel like that's fair to myself... As Kevin Garnett said, 'Anything is possible!'" 👀
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPoints) September 15, 2023
The playoffs start on Jan. 13, roughly four months from Rodgers' injury. A return to the postseason would be more than a long shot. Achilles tears generally sideline NFL players for up to a year, and Rodgers is past his physical playing prime at 39 years old.
His return to the game doesn't sound like a matter of if, though, but a matter of when.