New York Jets coach Robert Saleh said the team would welcome the return of Aaron Rodgers this season if doctors agree the 39-year-old superstar quarterback has recovered from the ruptured Achilles he suffered in his first game of the NFL season.
"Aaron's a big boy, a grown man," Saleh said in a press conference at the team's New Jersey headquarters on Wednesday. "After all the doctors clear him, if Aaron says he wants to play, he's going to play."
Rodgers has touted an ambitious timeline to return, telling NBC Sports on Sunday that his goal was to be back on the field in mid-December.
On Tuesday he said on ESPN'S "The Pat McAfee Show" that he expected to be back at the Jets training center full-time by the US Thanksgiving holiday on November 23.
"That's always been the plan once we got to Thanksgiving, to be back there full-time," Rodgers said.
Rodgers, who was injured on the Jets' fourth play of the season, has been rehabbing at a Los Angeles facility and joining the Jets at their games.
A return to NFL play some three months after such a serious Achilles injury would be unprecedented.
On Tuesday Rodgers said a decision to return would be based not only on his fitness but also on whether the Jets remained in the hunt for a playoff berth.
"We've got to be in the mix, and I've got to be healthy, and I definitely still want to come back," Rodgers said.
Rodgers had been the off-season focus of the NFL after he was traded to the Jets after 18 seasons with the Green Bay Packers.
His arrival was supposed to put the Jets over the top in their bid to become a title contender but without him the Jets have struggled offensively behind backup Zach Wilson.
They are 4-5 heading into Sunday's clash with division rivals Buffalo.
Saleh said the chance that Rodgers could return hasn't upped the pressure on the team to win.
"The pressure's to keep it afloat just to keep it afloat," he said. "The pressure to go to the playoffs is always pressure."