Aaron Rodgers wins Dennis Byrd award as most "inspirational" Jets player

He would have preferred league MVP or Super Bowl MVP. His four plays in 2023 nevertheless resulted in an award for Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

Based on a vote of teammates, Rodgers won the Dennis Byrd award, given to the most inspirational player on the roster.

"I've said it a million times," coach Robert Saleh told reporters, via Rich Cimini of "He loves his teammates, and his teammates love him. He's so intentional with how he approaches everybody in the building. He's very thoughtful in the way he does things, and he's a tremendous human. He's really well deserving of this award."

Obviously, Rodgers won the award not for his play but for his recovery from a torn Achilles tendon suffered on the first drive of the season.

"It's inspiring, man," left tackle Duane Brown said, via Cimini. "That's one of the most difficult injuries to come back from. To see his recovery, even without being on the field, has been remarkable. And the attitude he has -- I'm sure the day-to-day isn't easy, but he doesn't complain about it. . . . He keeps everything light and the mood light. He has fun out there. He's just very youthful in his approach. Like I said, it's inspiring, it's motivating, and it's unprecedented."

Even though Rodgers hasn't played in a game following his recovery, his return to practice has been beneficial to a team that is laying a foundation for 2024.

Even if Rodgers had played all year, the team around him might not have been ready to contend at a high level. They'll need to make some upgrades and improvements in the offseason.

They'll also benefit from lower expectations and reduced hype that comes from not being the "it" team entering Week 1. Whoever it is in 2024, it definitely won't be the Jets.