Most of us saw it live on Monday night inside New Jersey’s MetLife Stadium. New York Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers went down just four plays into his career with the team when his foot got caught in the artificial turf.
Rodgers was ultimately diagnosed with a torn Achilles, ending his season in the process. There was also some talk that this was the final play of the 39-year-old’s brilliant and Hall of Fame-worthy career.
For the four-time NFL MVP, it was a brutal evening. Jets fans were excited about him making his debut with the organization. The team as a whole had Super Bowl aspirations.
A couple days removed from the injury, Rodgers released a statement on Instagram. In said statement, the all-time great seems to suggest that he’ll return in 2024.
“Thank you to every person that has reached out, called, texted, DM’d, connected through a friend etc… It has meant a ton to me, and I’ll try and get back to all of you soon. I’m completely heartbroken and moving through all of the emotions, but deeply touched and humbled by the support and love. Please keep me in your thoughts and prayers as I begin the heeling process. The night is darkest before dawn. And I shall rise yet again.”Aaron Rodgers statement on IG
This seems to suggest that Rodgers will return to the Jets in 2024. Head coach Robert Saleh was of the same opinion in comments he made to the media earlier on Wednesday.
Aaron Rodgers releases statement amid artificial turf debate
Rodgers’ comments come on the same day that both the NFLPA and Commissioner Roger Goodell released statements about the use of artificial turf inside stadiums. There was widespread criticism of the use of artificial turf after Rodgers suffered his injury. Most notably, his former Green Bay Packers teammate David Bakhtiari took to social media to call out the NFL.
We’ve seen similar injuries happen at that venue and others in which artificial turf is still utilized. NFLPA Executive Director Lloyd Howell addressed this on Wednesday, mirroring what others have had to say. It’s time to go to all grass at every NFL stadium.
“Moving all stadium fields to high quality natural grass surfaces is the easiest decision the NFL can make,” Howell said, via ESPN. “The players overwhelmingly prefer it and the data is clear that grass is simply safer than artificial turf. It is an issue that has been near the top of the players’ list during my team visits and one I have raised with the NFL.”
Later on Wednesday, Goodell chimed in on the debate.
“You have other players who like playing on the turf field, because it’s faster,” Goodell, via Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated. “So you’ve got mixed opinions. What we want to go on is science, we want to go on what’s the best from an injury standpoint.”
Time will tell on that front. But for now, it appears that Aaron Rodgers is not willing to give up his NFL career just yet. Whether he’ll be playing on artificial turf when he makes his return remains to be seen.