Aaron Rodgers, the star quarterback of the New York Jets, suffered a devastating injury in the first game of the 2023 season. He tore his left Achilles tendon just four snaps into the game against the Miami Dolphins, ending his season and possibly his career. The injury occurred when he was sacked by Dolphins defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah, who hit him low and rolled over his ankle. Rodgers was carted off the field in visible pain and later confirmed the diagnosis on his Instagram account.
The Achilles tendon is a thick band of tissue that connects the calf muscle to the heel bone. It helps with walking, running, jumping, and pushing off the ground. When the tendon ruptures, it causes a sharp pain in the back of the lower leg, followed by swelling, bruising, and difficulty walking. The injury usually requires surgery to repair the tendon and a long recovery process that can take up to a year or more. Some of the factors that can increase the risk of an Achilles tendon injury include age, overuse, lack of flexibility, and previous injuries.
Rodgers, who is 39 years old, has been playing in the NFL since 2005 when he was drafted by the Green Bay Packers in the first round. He spent his first three seasons as a backup to Brett Favre, before taking over as the starter in 2008. He led the Packers to a Super Bowl victory in 2010, earning the Super Bowl MVP award. He also won four NFL MVP awards, in 2011, 2014, 2020, and 2021, and set several NFL records, including the highest single-season and career passer rating, the lowest interception percentage in a season, and the most consecutive passes without an interception.
Rodgers was traded to the Jets in 2022, after a tumultuous offseason with the Packers, who drafted his potential successor, Jordan Love, in 2020. Rodgers expressed his frustration with the lack of communication and respect from the Packers’ management and requested a trade. He eventually agreed to a restructured contract that gave him more control over his future and allowed him to join the Jets, who offered him a three-year, $90 million deal. He was expected to revitalize the Jets’ offense, which ranked last in the league in 2021, and lead them to the playoffs for the first time since 2010.
However, his injury has dashed those hopes and raised questions about his future in the NFL. Rodgers has said that he is not ready to retire yet and that he wants to come back stronger than ever. He has also joked that he will be back in a few weeks, but later clarified that he needs more time to heal and that he hopes the Jets will still be in the mix when he returns. However, some experts and fans have speculated that Rodgers may have played his last snap in the NFL, or that he may not be the same player he was before the injury. They have pointed out that Achilles injuries are notoriously difficult to recover from, especially for older athletes, and that they can affect their mobility, explosiveness, and accuracy .
The Jets, meanwhile, have to move on without their franchise quarterback and rely on their backup, Zach Wilson, who was drafted second overall in 2021. Wilson had a disappointing rookie season, throwing for 2,334 yards, 11 touchdowns, and 15 interceptions, with a 55.1% completion rate and a 66.8 passer rating. He also missed four games due to a knee injury. He showed some improvement in the preseason, but he still has a lot to prove as the Jets’ starter. He will have to face a tough schedule, including games against the Buffalo Bills, the New England Patriots, the Kansas City Chiefs, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The Jets’ fans and coaches are hoping that Wilson can step up and lead the team to a successful season, despite the loss of Rodgers. They are also hoping that Rodgers can make a full recovery and return to the field next year, or at least mentor Wilson and help him develop as a quarterback. They are also hoping that Rodgers’ injury is not the end of his legendary career, but rather a temporary setback that he can overcome with his talent, determination, and resilience.