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NFL insiders reveal how Aaron Rodgers could return to New York Jets in 2023 season

When quarterback Aaron Rodgers was carted off the sideline after playing just four snaps in Week 1, many wrote off the New York Jets’ aspirations for the 2023 season. While the All-Pro quarterback will be sidelined indefinitely, there is reportedly a path to him returning to the field sooner than expected.

Rodgers suffered a ruptured Achilles just four snaps into his Jets’ debut. It forced New York to start Zach Wilson, who the front office hoped wouldn’t see the field in 2023 and the locker room lost confidence in last season.

  • Aaron Rodgers contract: $8.888 million cap hit (2023), $17.161 million cap hit in 2024, $51.5 million cap hit in 2025

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Despite reports connecting New York to veteran quarterbacks, Wilson will be the starter moving forward. The Jets’ coaching staff is confident the third-year quarterback is ready mentally to be the starter and players showed their renewed confidence in Wilson in the moments after Rodgers’ injury.

The Jets still face an uphill battle to make the playoffs, especially in a loaded AFC. If the defense and running game carries New York to a playoff spot, though, it appears there’s a chance its superstar quarterback returns to the field.

Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero of NFL Network detailed Rodgers’ aspirations to return during the playoffs. While the recovery process from a surgically repaired Achilles typically takes over a year, Rodgers is hopeful that the specific procedure he went under will accelerate that timeline significantly.

“Sources say renowned orthopedic surgeon Dr. Neal ElAttrache and his team performed a procedure to place an internal brace — called an Achilles “speed bridge”…While there are no guarantees, the speed bridge protects the repair and opens up the possibility of an earlier return, sources say.”

Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero on the procedure Aaron Rodgers underwent

Related: Aaron Rodgers vows to return to New York Jets

It’s not unprecedented for an NFL player to return to the field in the same season they suffered a ruptured Achilles. Los Angeles Rams running back Cam Akers returned in six months, playing meaningful snaps in the Rams’ offense after suffering what everyone assumed was a season-ending injury during the summer.

  • Aaron Rodgers career stats: 59,055 passing yards, 475-105 TD-INT ratio, 65.3% completion rate, 103.6 quarterback rating, 7.7 yards per attempt

Rodgers, the Jets’ organization and Dr. Neal ElAttrache are hoping the four-time NFL MVP can return to the field in late January. The surgery Rodgers underwent is meant to allow athletes to fully recover in “as little as for months.” At the very least, it gives him a shot at returning under center in January.

Of course, the difference is that Rodgers turns 40 years old in December. Not only does he have a history of injuries, which further complicates matters, he simply won’t heal as fast as players more than 14 years younger than him. However, it’s at least a semblance of hope for the Jets when many assumed their season was over once the diagnosis was announced.