NEW YORK — On Thursday, Aaron Rodgers and the beat writers who cover the Jets met for an off-camera interview inside the team’s Florham Park training facility.
Before the 24-minute conversation, Rodgers commented on my “Masters of the Universe” T-shirt and the superstar quarterback expressed his love for both that ’80s classic cartoon along with the “G.I. Joe” series.
After we were done reminiscing about our childhoods, we got down to the business at hand. With this being the first time we have spoken to Rodgers since he tore his Achilles in Week 1 on Sept. 11, there was one question I had to ask him: Why? Why decide to try and return from an Achilles injury that is typically a season-ending injury?
Rodgers then looked at me in utter shock.
“Why?” Rodgers said with an incredulous stare. “Do you know my history? It’s never been a why try, it’s why not.”
I asked the question with a sense of knowing what Rodgers would say, but he’s absolutely correct. Why not try to attempt to come back from an Achilles injury quicker than any known professional player?
Rodgers lives and breathes football and that’s all he has known during his 40 years on Earth. That drive and determination got him to the University of California after beginning his college career at Butte Community College.
That same motivation also helped fuel him after he fell all the way to the 24th overall pick by the Green Bay Packers after he was snubbed by the San Francisco 49ers with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2005 NFL draft (The Niners drafted Alex Smith). And that chip on his shoulder is likely the reason Rodgers has played in the league for 19 years at such a high level.
Rodgers has always bet on himself. Many naysayers have come out of the woodwork to criticize his possible return this week after the Jets opened his 21-day practice window. However, what does Rodgers have to lose at this point?
He is arguably the most talented quarterback who has ever played the game. Rodgers has won a Super Bowl MVP and four regular-season NFL MVP awards. He also has more money in the bank than anyone could imagine.
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