Aaron Rodgers won't stop pushing comeback narrative despite Jets record

Aaron Rodgers could return to practice next week. Will he actually come back this season?

Aaron Rodgers, New York Jets
Aaron Rodgers, New York Jets / Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Jets lost to the Miami Dolphins on Black Friday. Tim Boyle stepped into the starting QB role and was expectedly mediocre. Now 4-7, it's fair to say the Jets are out of the postseason picture. Miracles happen, sure, but the Pittsburgh Steelers and Houston Texans have 2.5-game leads in the wild card race as of Sunday afternoon.

So, why do we keep hearing about Aaron Rodgers' imminent return? The Jets would be better off waiting until next season, surely. Rodgers is 39 years old and there's no reason to rush back from a ruptured Achilles if there's no postseason prize at the end of the tunnel... right?

Well, Rodgers appears dead set on making a swift, historic recovery. According to NFL insider Ian Rapoport, the 10-time Pro Bowl QB — who tore his Achilles four plays into Week 1 — could start practicing as soon as next week with a targeted return date of Dec. 24 against the Washington Commanders.

Aaron Rodgers targets Dec. 24 return from Achilles injury in latest wild update

A Christmas Eve return would allow Rodgers to play three games for the Jets. It's difficult to imagine New York's fortunes changing in the meantime. Either Tim Boyle will remain under center or Robert Saleh will turn to Trevor Siemian. Neither option inspires much confidence. God forbid we get more Zach Wilson. But, Rodgers' return could give the Jets something to look forward to and play toward.

Rodgers has talked about the ticking clock on his career. Not every QB can play until 45 like Tom Brady, and it's only natural for a player with Rodgers' notorious competitive drive to want to squeeze in as much football as possible before his retirement. Plus, it's not exactly fun to watch the Jets' offense week-to-week. Rodgers would elevate the product.

There's a chance Rodgers, if medically cleared, can use the final weeks of the regular season as a launching point for a full 2024 season. It's a chance for him to get re-familiarized with personnel and build up positive momentum heading into the offseason. It's fair to be equally or more concerned about the negative injury risk, but the Jets wouldn't let Rodgers return with the green light from doctors. He deserves a ton of credit for his hard work in rehab. To even have the chance to play football again this season is a credit to Rodgers.

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