Four-time NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers is ready to get back on the field and compete this fall after his debut with the New York Jets lasted just four snaps to start the 2023 season in what became the torn Achilles heard around the world.
Rodgers, who is nearly five months out from sustaining the injury, recently discussed his ongoing rehabilitation process and shed light on his recovery on “The Joe Rogan Experience” podcast.
“It feels good,” Rodgers said. “I can do everything except sprint at a top speed. … I really attacked the rehab the first few months and kinda wanted to go as hard as I could for two months and see where I was at and also see where the team was at — because my goal was to come back. Nobody has come back really [quickly] from that injury. Most of the time when it happens, especially during the season, there’s no need to push a rehab. Because it was the first week of the season, I said, ‘Lets push this as hard as I can and see if I can come back in December at some point.’
“In my mind, I had circled Christmas Eve, which would have been 14 weeks post-surgery. I worked really, really hard. I had a great surgeon who did a newer process where they kinda of anchor the sutures through the tendon [and] back into your heel. It allows you to get onto your feet quicker.”
Rodgers went on to share why he turned to both traditional and non-conventional things during his rehab, and it had everything to do with moving up his return date.
“I did a lot of other things to speed up the rehab,” he continued. “I did hyperbaric chamber, … I did some stem cells, I did full-time rehab up to eight hours a day. … My diet was rock solid. A lot of bone broth to increase the collagen levels to increase healing. So I felt really, really good. I made it back on the practice field at 11 weeks.
“The way the NFL works with the IR, you have a three-week window before they gotta make a decision. So [if] they designate you to return, you have three weeks before you get activated, so I was hoping we’d win those three games [and] I could come back. Now, I couldn’t sprint — and still can’t at top speed — but I felt like there [have] been times in my career where I’ve played in a small circle and could’ve been able to be effective. That didn’t happen. … We were out of it [the postseason], so I didn’t come back.”
The Jets finished 7-10 (.412) on the season and third in the AFC East. They had four different starting QBs, which included Zach Wilson (11 games started) / Trevor Siemian (three games) / Tim Boyle (two games) and Rodgers (one game). The Jets finished at or toward the bottom of the league in many major offensive categories for the 2023-24 regular season, including third-to-last in total passing yards (3,373), second-to-last in competition percentage (59.2%) and last in total touchdowns (11).
“I had a lot of things working against me, my age being the biggest one, but I learned a lot more about health,” Rodgers added. “I don’t have the explosion. I don’t have the ability to kinda get up on my toe. The biggest hurdle was just single-leg calf strength — like being able to, from a standing position, shift my weight into a single leg and to a heel raise.”
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