(AP) — Aaron Rodgers has a torn left Achilles tendon and the 39-year-old New York Jets quarterback will miss the rest of the season, coach Robert Saleh announced Tuesday.
An MRI revealed the four-time NFL MVP’s injury, confirming what the Jets feared after their 22-16 overtime win over Buffalo on Monday night. Saleh said Rodgers will have season-ending surgery, but he wasn’t certain when that would occur.
Torn Achilles tendons typically take several months of recovery due to the extensive rehabilitation needed.
On his fourth regular-season snap in a Jets uniform, Rodgers tried to avoid a rushing Leonard Floyd, who wrapped up the quarterback and spun him down to the MetLife Stadium turf. Rodgers stood up after a few moments, looked over to the Jets’ sideline and then sat on the turf — seemingly knowing he was seriously hurt.
He needed help from trainers to get to New York’s sideline, where he was taken to the blue medical tent to be examined. Rodgers then got on a cart to go to the locker room, hopped off near the tunnel and limped inside.
Zach Wilson replaced Rodgers just 3:45 into the game and finished 14 of 21 for 140 yards with a touchdown pass to Garrett Wilson and an interception in the victory.
The third-year quarterback will now start for the Jets on Sunday at Dallas – and the foreseeable future.
“This is Zach’s team and we’re rolling with Zach,” Saleh said.
Wilson praised the work Rodgers did with him during the offseason and training camp, helping him feel “a lot more prepared” to take the next step in his development.
“The hardest part is now putting it into a game and I’ve got to be able to do that,” Wilson said Monday night. “Going into this week, it’s applying everything that he’s kind of helped walk us through and being able to watch him and the coaches, how they’ve handled this offense. I’ve got to be able to handle that efficiently.”
Rodgers, who spent his first 18 seasons with Green Bay, was acquired by the Jets in April and immediately raised expectations for the frustrated franchise.
He gave the Jets their most accomplished quarterback since Brett Favre, who was acquired from Green Bay in 2008 — clearing the way for Rodgers to become the Packers’ signal caller.
Rodgers, who repeatedly has said he won’t be one-and-done with the Jets, agreed in July to a restructured contract that gives him $75 million in fully guaranteed money over this season and next.
But now, he’ll have to focus on a lengthy recovery and rehabilitation process, which could make his playing future uncertain.
The situation evoked eerily similar memories of 1999, when Vinny Testaverde — who, coincidentally, was the Jets’ honorary captain Monday night — ruptured his Achilles tendon early in New York’s season opener against New England.
Like this year’s squad, those Jets had Super Bowl aspirations after going to the AFC championship game the previous season. New York instead finished 8-8 and missed the playoffs.
With Rodgers likely out for the season, New York will not give up a first-round draft pick to Green Bay next year as part of the trade’s terms. It will remain a second-round pick that could have become a first-rounder if Rodgers had played 65% of the Jets’ plays this season.
The Packers also received the 13th overall pick, a second-rounder and a sixth-rounder in this year’s draft in exchange for Rodgers, the No. 15 overall pick and a fifth-rounder this year.