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Jets Players Inspired By Guy Who Spent Most Of The Season In Malibu Talking To Pat McAfee

Aaron Rodgers #8 of the New York Jets looks on from the sideline prior to an NFL football game against the Miami Dolphins at MetLife Stadium on November 24, 2023 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
Perry Knotts/Getty Images

Aaron Rodgers's first season with the New York Jets is ending much the same way it started: with the 40-year-old quarterback getting a lot of attention without doing much of anything on the field. It was announced today that Rodgers was voted by his teammates as the Jets' most inspirational player of 2023, for the brave(?) and loud way he attempted to come back from tearing his Achilles tendon in the first game of the season.

Rodgers went through surgery two days after tearing the tendon, and then spent most of the next three months in Malibu, where he rehabbed his injury and went on The Pat McAfee Show every week to insist that he could return to the field in time to play this season. He eventually rejoined the team on a full-time basis in late November, at which point he plodded around the practice field for a little bit before officially ending his imagined comeback tour.

But what may have looked like a shameless attention grab to everyone else was in fact a source of pure inspiration for Rodgers's teammates. From ESPN:

"I've said it a million times: He loves his teammates, and his teammates love him," coach Robert Saleh said. "He's so intentional with how he approaches everybody in the building. He's very thoughtful in the way he does things, and he's a tremendous human. He's really well deserving of this award."

[...]

"It's inspiring, man," left tackle Duane Brown said. "That's one of the most difficult injuries to come back from. To see his recovery, even without being on the field, has been remarkable. And the attitude he has -- I'm sure the day-to-day isn't easy, but he doesn't complain about it.

ESPN

They said it couldn't be done, folks. They said nobody could ever almost come all the way back from an Achilles tear as quickly as Aaron Rodgers almost came back from his. They said nobody could spend a full NFL season loudly insisting that such a quick rehabilitation was possible, despite everyone in the world knowing it wasn't. They said nobody could ever get this much attention in a season where they only played four snaps, and in the process help inspire his team to a 6-10 record. Look how wrong they all were.

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