The New York Jets fear Aaron Rodgers is out for the season after injuring his left ankle – and, most likely, his Achilles – getting sacked by Leonard Floyd of the Buffalo Bills on the fourth snap of a nightmare start to his New York Jets career.
It ended Rodgers’ first game for his new team minutes after it had begun and he will have an MRI scan on Tuesday to find out if it has ended his season, too. He was carted away for an X-Ray, which returned negative, but coach Robert Saleh admitted ‘it’s not good’ and that he thinks Rodgers has an Achilles injury. There are significant fears it will end his season.
The Jets still won a frankly sensational game at home to the Bills on Monday night with Xavier Gipson clinching victory in overtime with a 65-yard punt return touchdown that sent MetLife Stadium into pandemonium.
But it had taken only minutes for the life to be sucked out the venue at the start of the game. Rodgers dropped back on first down from the Jets’ 43-yard-line and tried to roll out to his left before being sacked by Floyd for a loss of 10 yards. But his left foot appeared to get stuck in the Jets’ turf as he was being tackled.
The quarterback hit the ground and grimaced as he clambered back up to his feet for a moment, before standing still and dropping back down to sit on the turf. He had to helped off as Zach Wilson made his way out to replace him. Rodgers, 39, went straight into the medical tent in scenes that left the entire NFL stunned.
Aaron Rodgers hurt his ankle getting sacked by Leonard Floyd minutes into his Jets debut
Rodgers, 39, appeared to get his left foot stuck in the turf as Leonard Floyd took him down
Rodgers, 39, dropped to the ground and needed medical assistance straight away
The quarterback emerged to be helped onto a cart and was driven off for an X-Ray. He was listed as questionable to return but it didn’t take long for him to be officially ruled out of the rest of the game. He was seen with his left foot in a black protective boot.
‘He’s dealing with an ankle issue, we’re getting it checked out and we’ll have an update,’ Jets coach Saleh said at the break between the first and second quarter.
The amount of scrutiny and excitement over Rodgers and his move to the Jets had dominated the offseason and the hype had reached new heights in the hours before Monday night’s game.
Things started quietly enough. After a 26-yard run by Breece Hall on the Jets’ opening play, Rodgers threw his first pass away after getting heavy pressure from Gregg Rousseau. Rodgers threw incomplete on the next play, but Terrel Bernard was called for defensive holding.
Then, Rodgers tried to avoid a rushing Floyd, who wrapped up the quarterback and took him down to the MetLife Stadium turf.
And in the cruelest twist of fate, his first game was over just as it had started. Rodgers looked stunned and ashen faced, albeit not in significant pain by his facial expression, with all eyes in the stadium on him rather than the play unfolding on the field itself in the immediate aftermath.
In the moment before the game began, Rodgers had played a central role in the 9/11 tributes at the stadium on the 22nd anniversary of the terrorist attack.
He came out onto the field for his first game holding the American flag as fans got their first look at the quarterback who, in no uncertain terms, has underlined his dream of leading the New York team to Super Bowl glory.
Rodgers had looked like calmness personified as he warmed up for his first Jets game and even headed over to greet Jake Paul, one of the celebrities watching on in the crowd.
Rodgers got to his feet for a moment but the injury forced him back down to the ground
Rodgers needed assistance as he made his way off the field to receive further attention
In scenes that stunned NFL, Rodgers was then helped straight down the MetLife tunnel
As a hurt Rodgers made his way off the field, coach Saleh looked lost for words as he tried to retain focus on organizing his team for the rest of the game itself.
The Jets play Dallas Cowboys next Sunday, a game that Rodgers already looks destined to miss. For both Rodgers and his team, the question marks will inevitably rest on whether the quarterback can play again this season.
Social media was immediately engulfed by speculation on how Rodgers was hurt, with one account – ProFootballDoc – suggesting Rodgers had torn his Achilles due to the way his foot had plugged in the ground.
If so, it would rule Rodgers out for the season. People typically need 4-6 months to return to normal activity from such an injury.
Rodgers has repeatedly said he won´t be one-and-done with the Jets.
He agreed in July to a restructured contract that gives him $75million in fully guaranteed money over this season and next. It amounts to a nearly $35m pay cut from the deal he had with Green Bay in which he was set to make $110m guaranteed.