Though he knows the decision isn’t up to him, Robert Saleh doesn’t think Aaron Rodgers’ football career is done.
Saleh, two days after Rodgers tore his Achilles on just his fourth play with the New York Jets in their season opener, thinks the 39-year-old veteran quarterback will be on the field next season.
“I’d be shocked if this is the way he’s going to go out,” Saleh said Wednesday, via ESPN’s Rich Cimini.
Rodgers seemed to echo that sentiment in an Instagram post on Tuesday afternoon, which marked his first comments since his injury.
"I’m completely heartbroken and moving through all of the emotions, but deeply touched and humbled by the support and love," he wrote, in part. "Please keep me in your thoughts and prayers as I begin the healing process today.
"The night is darkest before the dawn. And I shall rise yet again."
Rodgers was sacked by Buffalo Bills defensive end Leonard Floyd on just the Jets' fourth offensive play of the game Monday night at MetLife Stadium. Though Rodgers stood up after the play, he quickly sat back down on the turf and was very clearly shaken up. He was eventually helped off the field and carted back to the locker room.
The Jets later confirmed that Rodgers tore his left Achilles and that he will be out for the rest of the season.
Despite his absence, the Jets rallied past the Bills in overtime to take a 22-16 win. The team will now move forward with backup Zach Wilson, who is expected to start Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys.
Rodgers was traded to the Jets this past offseason from the Green Bay Packers, where he played for 18 years. His arrival sent already high expectations for the Jets, who haven’t been to the playoffs since 2010, to another level.
Rodgers is the oldest quarterback in the league, and one of the oldest active players in general. Recovering from an Achilles injury isn’t easy, either, especially when one is just a few months from turning 40 and is at the end of his career. It’s fair to wonder if the injury will end up being career-ending.
Rodgers said this past offseason that he nearly retired before entering his darkness retreat, too, and he’s already accomplished just about everything there is to do in the NFL. The four-time league MVP led the Packers to a win in Super Bowl XLV in 2011 and was named the game’s MVP that year, too. He’s ninth on the league’s all-time passing yards list and fifth on the passing touchdowns list, and he’s the highest active player on both lists. He’s one of the best and most accomplished quarterbacks in the game’s history.
Any plans on Rodgers’ future, however, aren’t going to be answered for a while. It may take until the end of the season.
While he’d obviously love to have him back, Saleh insisted he’s not going to push Rodgers on the issue. Right now, that’s the last thing he needs.
“[Rodgers is] working through a whole lot of headspace things that he needs to deal with, and that will be the last thing I talk to him about,” Saleh said.