A night filled with so much excitement for the Jets and their fans turned grim quickly as quarterback Aaron Rodgers suffered what the team fears is a season-ending Achilles injury just four plays into his debut Monday against the Buffalo Bills.
The star quarterback sustained the injury on a sack by Buffalo defensive end Leonard Floyd. While being dragged down, the back of Rodgers' left leg/ankle appeared to get tangled beneath him and remained stretched out as he sat upright. He tried to get up and walk it off but ultimately went back down to the ground and needed assistance from the Jets' training staff to get off the field.
Rodgers went to the blue medical tent and was carted to the locker room, where he was seen wearing a walking boot on his left foot. X-rays came back negative but he was quickly ruled out for the remainder of the night. After the game, head coach Robert Saleh confirmed Jets fans' worst fear.
"Prayers tonight, it's not good," he said.
Rodgers will undergo an MRI on Tuesday morning and the team is expecting that to confirm that Rodgers has suffered a season-ending Achilles injury.
"I hurt for Aaron because I know how much he's invested in this," Saleh said. "I'm still going to say a prayer, I'm still going to hold out hope. My heart's with Aaron right now, and nowhere else."
"It's bad that he went down so early, the people didn't get to see what we've been working on," running back Dalvin Cook said. "The league is better when Aaron Rodgers is on the field."
Zach Wilson will be the Jets' starting quarterback moving forward. The former top pick came in for Rodgers Monday night and helped lead the comeback for the overtime win.
"Today was a real good example of what we think of him and how he can play," Saleh said. "He still has a long way to go as far as growth but you love his mental makeup, his approach, and how much confidence he has in himself."
While Wilson is excited and ready for the opportunity, he admitted postgame that losing a leader of Rodgers' caliber is a huge blow for this team.
"I have so much love for him, my heart goes out to him," he said. "I know he'll find a way to keep working to get back, but that's tough, that hurts us as a team."