Rodgers expressed appreciation for the support of Jets fans in what will long be remembered as a landmark moment in the franchise's history when he ran out of the MetLife Stadium tunnel Monday night with an American flag in his grasp. The sad part, though, is what followed. Rodgers described it as "one of the toughest 24 hour stretches I've had in my life" during a Friday appearance on The Pat McAfee Show.
"Lot of sadness, lot of tears, lot of dark frustration, anger, the gamut of emotions, but the sun rose the next day and I found myself in L.A., had surgery on Wednesday, and since then I've been feeling better," Rodgers said.
Rodgers said he received countless messages of support from past and current teammates, and those who have experienced similar Achilles injuries. He added he knew instantly that he'd suffered a season-ending injury, wiping out the optimism that followed the Jets through the offseason from the moment he announced he intended to join them.
He hopes Monday night wasn't the last time folks will see him in a Jets uniform.
"There's a lot of different ideas about the overall length of the rehab, I think what I'd like to say is, just because nobody's ever done it in a certain way doesn't mean it's not possible," Rodgers said. "I definitely have some odds stacked against me based on age, but I like it. Stack all the odds up against me and see what happens.
"My entire focus and dedication is about acquiring the most information and adding to what I've already put together as a pretty damn good rehab plan that's going to, I think, shock some people."
The Jets will proceed forward without Rodgers, and former No. 2 overall pick Zach Wilson -- the same player who once guaranteed he'd make any veteran replacement's life "hell" -- will step into the starting role. Wilson has had the benefit of learning from Rodgers while taking backup reps behind him during training camp. Now, that practice will be tested.
"Yeah, I'm very confident in Zach, and I think he's confident in himself, which is the most important thing," Rodgers said. "It was an important offseason for him, very important I think to get his confidence back and be able to work on some of the little fundamental things that I think you've seen show up in the preseason and obviously the other night on Monday. But, I mean truly I was hoping he could have a couple years to sit back and relax, but that's how this life goes sometimes, it throws you some curveballs.
"Neither of us thought that that's what was going to happen on Monday, obviously, he hugged each other before the game, said 'I love you,' and said he said 'Can't wait to watch you play out there,' and I was the one watching him play after the fourth play, but I'm excited for him, he's a great kid, I'm pulling for him, I'll be talking to him."
There's no telling how this Jets season might go after losing Rodgers. But he expects to remain involved with the team, even if he can't be down on the sideline for a while. And he'll do so hoping his efforts help the Jets return to the postseason -- even if he can't be the one leading them there.