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Will Aaron Rodgers return to the 4-7 New York Jets this season?

The Jets quarterback tempered expectations about his return during his Tuesday appearance on ‘The Pat McAfee Show’

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New York Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers before a game against the Miami Dolphins on Nov. 24, 2023, in East Rutherford, N.J.

New York Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers before an NFL football game against the Miami Dolphins on Nov. 24, 2023, in East Rutherford, N.J.

Bryan Woolston, Associated Press

The timing of Aaron Rodgers’ return to the football field seems a little murkier based on what the quarterback said on “The Pat McAfee Show” Tuesday.

In October, Rodgers said he’d “love to come back this season,” but this week, 11 weeks after undergoing surgery on his torn Achilles, he appeared to temper expectations.

“We’re not where I can make a decision on playing because health-wise I’m improving steadily, but I’m not at the ability to play at this point,” he said.

What did Aaron Rodgers say about returning this season?

Rodgers said his potential return this season comes down to his health and the Jets’ ability to make a run. He didn’t specify if the Jets had to be good enough to make it to the playoffs or to the Super Bowl for him to come back.

“It’s always been first, ‘Am I healthy?’ and then, ‘Are we alive? Are we in it? Are we playing good enough to make a run?’” he said.

On Friday, New York started Tim Boyle in a loss to the Miami Dolphins and fell to 4-7. The team is currently two games outside an AFC playoff berth, according to NBC Sports.

The team benched Zach Wilson in the previous game and then demoted the former BYU quarterback to third on the depth chart, as the Deseret News previously reported.

Once medically cleared, the four-time NFL MVP said he’d also consider his level of play and mobility when deciding a timetable for his return.

“Can I step in and protect myself and play the level I’m capable of playing?” Rodgers said. “Can I protect myself? Can I move around the way I want to move around? There’s a natural progression here to the rehab, and that’s gonna involve actually getting back onto the field to start to do some things that are more football-related.”

Ahead of his upcoming 40th birthday Saturday, Rodgers described the past year positively despite his season not going according to plan.

“Whether or not I come back this year, there’s been a lot of lessons and a lot things I’m grateful for in the midst of some really frustrating and sad times,” he said.

What did Aaron Rodgers say about Jaelan Phillips’ Achilles injury?

After watching the Dolphins’ Jaelan Phillips go down with an Achilles injury against the Jets Friday, Rodgers knew Phillips tore his Achilles.

“I actually walked out on the field,” he said. “We just made eye contact, and I think I said something like ‘I know what you’re going through right now, and it’s going to be OK.’”

Rodgers said he reached out to Phillips after the game and offered to be a resource while the linebacker navigates the injury and rehab. With his rehab, the Jets quarterback hopes to inspire people, including Phillips, “to not look at this as kinda like a death sentence.”