Aaron Rodgers' season-ending Achilles injury spun the New York Jets' season into a tizzy just four snaps into the 2023 campaign. The injury conjures questions about whether Rodgers, who contemplated retirement this offseason, will continue his career with the Jets in 2024 at the age of 40.
For his part, coach Robert Saleh said he's not yet close to broaching that topic with the four-time MVP.
"I haven't gone down that road with him. I mean, I'd be shocked if this is the way he's gonna go out," Saleh said Wednesday. "But at the same time, for him … he's 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."
Rodgers signed a revised contract with New York this offseason that runs through the 2025 season and suggested multiple times he planned on playing for the Jets for more than one year. It's possible, however, that the Achilles injury could change those designs.
Regardless of how the future unfolds, Saleh hopes Rodgers will remain around the club to help mentor Zach Wilson and others.
"I think it's very important," the coach said when asked about Rodgers staying close to the team. "I think it's important for him. Mental health and healing, I think that's very important. But his presence, his words… Like I said, he's as much a football coach as he is a player, and just having his presence, his thoughts, his words and his leadership, I think anyone would want that."
In the immediate future, Saleh has to manage a club that spent its entire offseason building around a player who lasted four snaps. The coach didn't rule out adding a veteran QB to the mix down the road, but right now, he is comfortable plowing forward with Wilson and Tim Boyle, who is on the practice squad.
"It doesn't have to be this week," he noted. "Like I said, with Zach and Tim, those are our guys. They've been here from OTAs, all the nuance. Sometimes I look at it like it's… It's not Madden in the sense that we can just plug and play anybody. There's a lot of meetings, a lot of practices, a lot of nuance, a lot of understanding of why things are the way they are that go into it. So, just plugging and playing a quarterback, it's gonna take time, whoever comes in this building, to figure out what we've done over the last six, seven months and to create their identity within the system. So right now, all of our attention is on Zach and Tim to get them ready to play football."
Saleh continued to bolster Wilson as a QB that he has "a lot of faith" in running the offense. The Jets know that no one will pity them following Rodgers' injury.
"I don't think there's anything to say. It sounds cliché, but it's next man up," he said. "Nobody cares. Nobody cares that you've lost a player. At the end of the day, Sunday's coming."