Aaron Rodgers opens up on Jets return effort: 'What's the worst that can happen?'

Rodgers doesn't have any concerns about the Jets' offensive line, he said

If you're wondering why Aaron Rodgers seems to be pushing so hard to return for the New York Jets this season, the 39-year-old has some answers.

"My thing is, what's the worst that can happen?" he asked a group of beat reporters Thursday.

Rodgers posed the hypothetical question as part of an answer about whether people advised him not to work toward a comeback, saying "a lot of people" did. Those recommendations didn't matter because he's not worried that "something unfortunate" will happen again, he said.

"I think if you take the rehab slower and a little bit more deliberate, five months, six months max is probably the length to get back to 100% if you really take it slow," he said, per Antwan Staley of the New York Daily News. "In my opinion, there isn't a downside of coming back and re-injuring it."

He's not concerned about the state of the Jets' offensive line, either. For context, their offense is looking terrible. So bad, that it's unclear if even Rodgers would succeed in it.

"The quarterback's job is to make sure everybody gets on the same page, get the ball out," he said via Zack Rosenblatt of The Athletic. "There’s been some up and down play with the line at times for sure but you gotta make the system work for you."

We all know the story by now. This offseason, the Jets reveled in the acquisition of Rodgers, a four-time MVP. But on the first drive of his regular-season debut, he tore his Achilles. Through a successful surgery and countless appearances on "The Pat McAfee Show," Rodgers' injury went from season-ending to today's current limbo.

FLORHAM PARK, NEW JERSEY - JULY 26: Quarterback Aaron Rodgers #8 of the New York Jets talks to reporters after training camp at Atlantic Health Jets Training Center on July 26, 2023 in Florham Park, New Jersey. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers is on the road to a comeback. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

The Jets surprised fans Wednesday by opening the 21-day window for Rodgers to return to practice. The move came two days after he told McAfee he wasn't even close to being ready to play full-speed football, adding that a return will depend on his health and the Jets' playoff chances.

If nothing else, it sounds like the comeback attempt is a personal endeavor for Rodgers. He's been vocal about the power of mindset and manifestation, a sentiment he continues to express.

Rodgers woke up and cried for most of the day on Sept. 12, the day after he suffered the injury, he told reporters Thursday.

"[I was] really sad and frustrated and in that feeling sorry for yourself mode," he said. "I decided for my mental health it’d be better if I attacked this rehab with my emotion and heart, and see what I could get out of it."

He added that the alternative to dedicating his negative energy into rehab would have been going "into another dark cave for six months."

If Rodgers' reference to the four days he spent at Sky Cave's darkness retreat in February is any indicator of things to come, we'll be hearing about his return effort for a while.