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FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — New York Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers, in his first public comments since his season-ending Achilles injury, said he’s down, but apparently not out.

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“I am completely heartbroken and going through all the emotions, but deeply touched and humbled by the support and love,” Rodgers wrote Wednesday in a post on his Instagram page. “Please keep me in your thoughts and prayers as I begin the healing process today.

“The night is darkest before the dawn. And I will rise once more.”

Rodgers’ comments came shortly after Jets coach Robert Saleh and owner Woody Johnson indicated they expect the four-time MVP to return in 2024.

“I would be surprised if this is how it would end,” Saleh told reporters.

The 39-year-old quarterback, the oldest player in the NFL, faces several months of grueling rehabilitation after rupturing his left Achilles tendon on his fourth play of the season in Monday night’s win over the Buffalo Bills. .

Saleh said he hasn’t discussed the future with him, adding that Rodgers is “working on a lot of things that he needs to deal with, and that will be the last thing I talk to him about.”

Before the injury, Rodgers had mentioned numerous times that his goal was to play several years with the Jets. He is signed through 2025 and will receive $38 million in guarantees in 2024.

About three hours before Rodgers’ post, Johnson weighed in on social media, saying, “The story isn’t over. Come back strong @AaronRodgers12.” In Green Bay, Packers coach Matt LaFleur and quarterback Jordan Love said they texted Rodgers shortly after his injury.

“I bet he would have no problem recovering,” LaFleur said. “I really believe that. I know the type of worker he is, so it will be a choice if he wants to continue playing or not.”

Love said he was excited to see Rodgers play and that “it sucks that that happened to him on the first series. I feel for him, I know he’s going to bounce back and do his thing in recovery, and come back stronger.”

Meanwhile, the Jets prepare for the Dallas Cowboys (1-0) with Zach Wilson starting and Tim Boyle as the backup. Saleh said the team feels no urgency to add another quarterback even though Wilson and Boyle are the only two in the building. Boyle will be taken off the practice squad for Sunday’s road game.

At some point, the Jets hope to have Rodgers return to the facility to help behind the scenes. Rodgers and Wilson have developed a close relationship over the past few months, and coaches say he has helped Wilson, the No. 2 pick in 2021, improve his game.

“I think it’s very important,” Saleh said of having Rodgers on the team. “It’s important to him. For him, I think it’s mental health and healing. I think that’s very important. But his presence, his words… I said he’s as much a football coach as he is a player. Just having his presence, his thoughts, his words and his leadership, anyone would want that.

For now, Wilson won’t have Rodgers around as a tutor. The Jets are trying to bounce back from the quarterback who was benched twice last season and demoted to the third position late in the year.

Several players, when asked about their confidence in Wilson, said the third-year quarterback has shown growth and cited Rodgers as a big reason. They noticed a difference in Wilson’s confidence.

“He’s got that swagger,” center Connor McGovern said. “When he came in, he had a good swagger. I think he lost it a little bit and he’s back. He’s back and he’s better than ever.”

Wilson, 8-14 as a starter, replaced Rodgers on the first series of the game. He struggled in the first half, throwing a costly interception, but improved in the second half and threw a 3-yard touchdown pass to Garrett Wilson in a 22-16 overtime victory. He finished 14 of 21 for 140 yards.

“The past is the past and from what I’m seeing, Zach is our guy,” running back Dalvin Cook said. “We have to rock with it.”

The Jets are exploring quarterback options for depth purposes, but Saleh said they are in no rush because they want the right scheme and the right locker room.

Meanwhile, Rodgers’ former coach with the Packers, Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy, said he reached out to his former quarterback.

“I have enormous love for him,” McCarthy said. “This is tough. I know he was very excited about this chapter of his life and I was looking forward to seeing him this weekend… You can see how valuable these opportunities are. Every game is such a special opportunity to compete in this league. So “Yeah, I think we all feel for him personally right now.”

ESPN’s Rob Demovsky and Todd Archer contributed to this report.

#Jets #quarterback #Aaron #Rodgers #heartbroken #torn #Achilles #tendon

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