Robert Saleh Would Be ‘Shocked’ If Aaron Rodgers Retires But That Comes With MAJOR Caveats

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New York Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers is out for the season and because he’s going to be 40 years old in December and has seriously considered retirement in the past, the question whether he’ll ever play football again is on the table.

Well, coach Robert Saleh did his best to clear the table at his Wednesday press conference.

“I would be shocked if this is the way he’s going to go out,” Saleh told reporters Wednesday.

Great. That’s the headline.

Sep 11, 2023; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; New York Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers (8) is injured after a sack by Buffalo Bills defensive end Leonard Floyd (not pictured) during the first quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

The Stipulations On Aaron Rodgers Returning

But let’s pump the brakes on calling this a set-in-stone statement about what Rodgers plans to do with his future.

The truth is, Saleh is giving his opinion based on a relationship with Rodgers that is approximately six months old. And the coach hasn’t even broached the subject with Rodgers.

“I haven’t gone down that road with him,” Saleh said. “…He’s working through a whole lot of head space of things he needs to deal with and that would be the last thing I talk to him about.”

So Saleh would be shocked if Rodgers stops playing but he doesn’t actually know.

What we do know is the Jets will remain committed to Rodgers through the remainder of this year. He’s on the injured reserve list so he’s done playing in 2023 and there is unlikely to be any other roster move concerning Rodgers.

New York Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers ran onto the field carrying a massive American flag on the anniversary of 9/11. (Credit: Getty Images)
New York Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers ran onto the field carrying a massive American flag on the anniversary of 9/11. (Credit: Getty Images)

Aaron Rodgers Retirement Question Remain

But the whole future thing is a conversation that definitely is required, likely after Rodgers has his surgery. Rodgers is in “consultations” studying next steps on doctors and procedures, per Saleh.

Long after those decisions are made, the eventual retirement conversation will occur. And it will test Rodgers and his resolve to continue.

Rodgers, we all know, has said he wasn’t arriving via trade to the Jets to be a one-and-done guy. He has said he might want to play two or three years for the team. That, obviously, was before this significant injury.

But as an talented journalist at pointed out a day ago, after the Monday Night Football game in which the Jets beat the Buffalo Bills, Rodgers has been no stranger to on-again-off-again retirement talk.

FLORHAM PARK, NEW JERSEY – MAY 31: Head coach Robert Saleh of the New York Jets talks to reporters before the team’s OTA’s at Atlantic Health Jets Training Center on May 31, 2023 in Florham Park, New Jersey. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

Robert Saleh And Jets Must Talk To Rodgers

He toyed with the idea of retirement after the 2021 season but eventually decided to return and signed a mega contract with the Green Bay Packers.

He then ended the 2022 season fully expecting to retire. This is not speculation. He’s said this.

He said he left the field after the Packers’ season finale expecting it to be his last game. And when he emerged from his so-called darkness retreat, he was set to retire. Again, he has said this.

So to make bold statements about what Rodgers is going to do one way or the other is unwise. Because it is clearly a fluid situation.

And Rodgers, who has wavered on the topic multiple times, is nothing if not unpredictable.

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND – AUGUST 12: Tom Brady, Former NFL Quarterback interacts with Birmingham City Mascots prior to the Sky Bet Championship match between Birmingham City and Leeds United at St Andrews (stadium) on August 12, 2023 in Birmingham, England. (Photo by Cameron Smith/Getty Images)

Jets QB Options Beyond This Week

Couple of more things and the Jets quarterback situation:

It’s not going to be Tom Brady.

Definitely not going to be Colin Kaepernick.

It’s going to be someone who will come in and be the backup to Zach Wilson — at least for now.

It would be great if that player had experience in the Nathaniel Hackett offense that the Jets are running. And the Jets have to be careful not to add someone so viable that Wilson comes under calls to be benched in favor of that player the first time he struggles.

And, yes, he will struggle.

“It’s not like Madden,” Saleh said. “We can’t just plug and play.”

Written by Armando Salguero

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