While Aaron Rodgers' return to the field in a Jets uniform won't be until next season, he reflected on his first year with his new team on his weekly spot on The Pat McAfee Show.
"I feel really good," Rodgers said. "Obviously bummed out about the season and not get a chance to get back on the field, but it is what it is. I'm thankful for a lot of things that happened this season, not for the injury part. But there was a lot of little miracles along the way, friendships and special people that showed up for me. Lots of little blessings in the midst of frustration. So, a good time to reflect over Christmas even though we were in the building yesterday for a little bit.
"I'm beyond excited to close out the season and then look forward to coming back next year and the years to come."
Fifteen weeks post-surgery, Rodgers' rapid recovery isn't slowing down even though he will not play in the remaining two games. The four-time NFL MVP underwent surgery on Sept. 14 and returned to practice Nov. 29 on a limited basis. He has taken 7-on-7 reps while leading the team's Flight School but also led the scout team offense late last week. Rodgers' next hurdle in his recovery is sprinting.
"My body feels good," he said. "I'm not able to reach a top speed, which who knows what that is for me these days, but the arm is good. I've been throwing a lot since Week 8, so eight weeks post-surgery and this is 15 [weeks] tomorrow. I'm back to all my workouts, squatting, everything. It's just I can't sprint, but the running has been good. I move around laterally, it's just good to feel more like myself and it's good to be with the guys that I love. I've always loved practice and love competing, but obviously wish there was something to play for playoff wise."
The Jets were eliminated from the playoffs two weeks ago after they lost at Miami, three days before Rodgers was activated. Watching his team from the sideline this past Sunday, a thrilling 30-28 win over the Commanders, Rodgers was impressed with RB Breece Hall. Hall accounted for 191 scrimmage yards and 2 touchdowns as he led the team in both rushing and receiving.
"There were a lot of great performances on Sunday, but I want to highlight Breece Hall," said Rodgers, who also shouted out Greg Zuerlein's 54-yard game-winning field goal with five seconds remaining. "Breece had 95-plus yards receiving and rushing and he's done it twice. I saw a stat that said he's done it in like 22 games and the other guys who have done it have played in over 100 games, so big shoutout to Breece. You give him a little bit of a crease, he's going to go the distance. I'm proud of [QB] Trevor [Siemian]. I thought Trevor played a nice game, but yeah it was a good win for us."
Siemian, who started his first game since last season on Sunday, threw for 217 yards, 1 touchdown and 1 interception while completing 55% of his passes. He'll start in place of Zach Wilson (concussion) again on a quick turnaround as the Jets play at Cleveland on Thursday night. The Browns (10-5) will clinch a playoff berth with a win and are two games out of first place in the AFC North.
Rodgers and the Jets will have to wait one more year for a chance to be in the postseason hunt, but that doesn't mean they have nothing to play for.
"We can only play spoilers," Rodgers said. "So, we'll try and do our best."