Doctors have last word on Aaron Rodgers’ Jets return: Saleh


Even as reports, and Aaron Rodgers himself, keep hinting at concrete details for a possible return, Jets head coach Robert Saleh said none of that matters until Rodgers gets cleared by doctors.

Fox Sports reported Sunday that Rodgers has told the Jets he plans to start practicing around Dec. 2, while Rodgers said during a Nov. 7 interview on “The Pat McAfee Show” that he was a “few fortnights” away from returning.

That targeted return could be Dec. 24 against the Commanders, according to NFL Network.

“Does he have personal goals? Sure,” Saleh said. “Does he have his eyes set on certain weeks? Sure. But all of it’s a moot point until he’s cleared by doctors.”

Rodgers was cautious about using the “few fortnights” phrase earlier this month.

The interview occurred the day after he threw passes, including a 58-yarder, on the MetLife Stadium turf before the Jets’ game against the Chargers and told Los Angeles safety Derwin James Jr. in a postgame exchange to “give me a few weeks.”

Aaron Rodgers was on the sideline for the Jets’ defeat in Las Vegas on Nov. 12, 2023.

But the 39-year-old quarterback, who turns 40 on Dec. 2, has insisted throughout his rehab process that he remains ahead of schedule.

Saleh said last week that the Jets wouldn’t hold Rodgers back from a return as long as he felt it was right.

The Jets, at 4-6, would need to claw back into the playoff hunt. But Saleh continues to reiterate that doctors’ assessments remain an important variable for Rodgers’ improbable comeback, too.

Saleh didn’t have an update on left tackle Mekhi Becton, who suffered an ankle injury Sunday, but he said the Jets will “lean on” offensive lineman Duane Brown (hip) with more physical contact in practice before his 21-day practice window expires Thursday.

Brown hasn’t played since Week 2, and the offensive line has faced constant shuffling and would be without four Week 1 starters if Becton misses time and Brown doesn’t return. Carter Warren replaced Becton against the Bills, while Max Mitchell and Chris Glaser started at right tackle and right guard, respectively.

At one point during Sunday’s loss, defensive lineman Quinnen Williams appeared to start yelling at Quinton Jefferson, Micheal Clemons and a few other people on the sidelines. Williams said the discussion looked “animated” because he needed to scream in the loud environment.

Josh Allen #17 of the Buffalo Bills scrambles while being chased by Quinnen Williams #95 of the New York Jets
Quinnen Williams in hot pursuit of Bills quarterback Josh Allen on Sunday in Orchard Park.
Getty Images

“It was basically like, ‘We gotta keep our heads up, keep moving, keep picking our things and just learn from our mistakes, so the next few games, man, we can dominate,’ ” Williams said Monday.

Cornerback Michael Carter II (hamstring), inactive Sunday, sustained the injury early in Friday’s practice, Saleh said. Xavier Newman, who has started a game for the Jets this season amid their offensive line crisis, also didn’t play due to an injury.

The Jets waived DL Tanzel Smart.

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