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Aaron Rodgers 2.0: Jets QB Still Preparing to 'Play at the Highest Level'

His Goals Remain Winning the Super Bowl, Earning NFL MVP Award, in That Order


This is one in a series of articles that will also appear in the New York Jets 2024 Yearbook, which will be published later this summer.

Hours after Jets QB Aaron Rodgers sustained an Achilles tendon tear four snaps into his Jets career, the four-tine NFL MVP took to Instagram and posted: "The night is darkest before dawn. And I shall rise again."

After surgery and many small and large steps alike, Rodgers was back at One Jets Drive eight months later reflecting and looking ahead.

"One of the best, hardest years of my life," he said in May. "And I'm super thankful for all the highs and lows, but I'm hoping for a little smoother ride this year."

That 2024 ride began with his teammates in the spring when Rodgers was practicing without limitations during voluntary sessions.

"These practices have helped," he said. "I feel much better today than I did yesterday, and I'm sure I'll feel better next week and the following week and training camp will be great. And at some point, it will just be a distant memory and I'll feel like 100% myself. Right now, I'm 90% myself and 10% not sure what's going on with various parts of my body."

Back at 90% with a spring in his step, Rodgers was rifling no-look passes into small windows to his receivers and coaching young players in between reps.

"I love competing, so I love at practice being able to look a guy off and throw behind his head," he said. "I did one to Quincy [Williams] and to just watch his reaction because he knows, 'I can't believe I let that guy get away with that again.' And me, it's comedy, it's the beauty in the competition and I love that part. There are so many great teachable moments at practice that I enjoy looking forward to. But when you throw a ball on the money, there's a part of you that wants to act like you've done that before and then a part of you that's like, 'Yeah, I still got it.' "

Rodgers is in uncharted territory and he's comfortable in that spot. He is trying to do something that has never been done. A year removed from his injury and entering a season where he'll turn 41 in December, he remains a primetime attraction for a team that believes it can contend. For those lining up to stop Rodgers in 2024, he's not going gently into the night.

"I enjoy being counted out. And like I said, I'm not just trying to coast into irrelevance. I'm trying to play at the highest level," he said. "I was talking to a buddy and I said if I didn't think we could win the Super Bowl and I couldn't win the MVP, then I wouldn't be playing. And that's the order of the goals."

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