Aaron Rodgers' injury hurts everyone, Packers included
The Packers didn't play a game Monday, but they suffered a significant loss when Aaron Rodgers went down with an apparent ruptured Achilles.
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On Monday, the New York Jets ushered in the Aaron Rodgers era with all the expected pomp and circumstance. The superstar quarterback, accompanied by an American flag in memory of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, ran onto the field to the full roar of the Gang Green faithful. To one of the NFL's most star-crossed franchises, Rodgers' mere presence in a Jets uniform inspired hope. Hope for unbelievable plays. Hope for wins over hated rivals. Hope for a championship.
However, the optimism at MetLife Stadium suddenly and completely evaporated mere minutes into the game, replaced by an existential dread more familiar to Jets fans. On Rodgers' fourth snap with New York, Buffalo Bills pass rusher Leonard Floyd sacked the veteran signal-caller. The play marked the third hit Rodgers absorbed on three dropbacks, an already dispiriting development for a player in his 19th season. But this blow proved more costly as Rodgers required assistance off the field, never to return.
Though the exact nature of Rodgers' injury remained unclear for several hours, the Jets had their worst fears all but confirmed behind closed doors. By the time head coach Robert Saleh met the media for his postgame press conference, the team understood its starting quarterback wouldn't return anytime soon.
"Concerned with his Achilles. MRI is probably going to confirm what we think is already going to happen," a solemn Saleh relayed Monday night. "Prayers tonight, but it's not good."
A ruptured Achilles would devastate any football player. However, for a veteran mere months away from his 40th birthday, such an injury could realistically spell the end of his career. Rodgers, a Super Bowl champion, four-time NFL MVP, and no-doubt first-ballot Hall of Famer, has nothing left to prove at this point. Even so, he surely never imagined going out in such a heartbreaking fashion.
With Rodgers' 2023 season all but officially over, the Jets' Super Bowl aspirations have suffered a seemingly insurmountable setback. Zach Wilson now steps in as the starting quarterback, a role he held during the previous two seasons. Of course, Wilson's ineptitude as a passer led to New York pursuing Rodgers in the first place.
No matter what the Jets say publicly, they have no realistic method of replicating Rodgers' field-tilting abilities. But while the injury affects the veteran signal-caller and New York the most, another team felt the impact of the torn Achilles: the Green Bay Packers.