Aaron Rodgers has spoken out publicly for the first time since his devastating,. The star quarterback was hurt four plays into his New York Jets' debut game against the Buffalo Bills at MetLife Stadium.
Rodgers, 39, expressed gratitude toward everyone who reached out to him, and reflected as he begins his recovery process.
"I'm completely heartbroken and moving through all of the emotions, but deeply touched and humbled by the support and love," he wrote in an Instagram post Wednesday. "Please keep me in your thoughts and prayers as I begin the healing process today."
"The night is darkest before the dawn. And I shall rise yet again," Rodgers said.
His teammates also wished him well as he starts the rehabilitation process.
The Jets' promising cornerback, Sauce Gardner, wrote on Rodgers' post that he did their handshake "with the air today" and told him to "get well soon."
Garrett Wilson, another young rising Jets star, wrote, "We all can't wait big dawg."
Veteran wide receiver Randall Cobb, who played with Rodgers on the Green Bay Packers and is his teammate on the Jets, told him, "We all got your back."
"You won't be alone on this journey," said Cobb.
Less than a handful of plays into his first game as the Jets starting quarterback, Rodgers was sacked in the first quarter and left with the injury to his lefton Monday. While the Jets still managed to secure a victory, 22-16, an MRI the following day confirmed Rodgers' injury and he would have to sit out the rest of the season.
Jets head coach Robert Saleh said in a Tuesday news conference that he feels for Rodgers more "than anyone."
"He's invested so much into this organization, so much in this journey he's embarked on and wanting to be a part of what we've got going on here. ... I have a lot of emotions for him, as for us," Saleh said.
The incident triggered renewed calls from the NFL players' union to have stadiums switch from artificial turf to natural grass.
"While we know there is an investment to making this change, there is a bigger cost to everyone in our business if we keep losing our best players to unnecessary injuries," NFLPA director Lloyd Howell said. "This is worth the investment and it simply needs to change now."
Will Aaron Rodgers retire?
Rodgers didn't make any mention of retirement in his Instagram post. He signed a 3-year, $112,500,000 contract with the Jets in the offseason, which includes $75 million guaranteed, according to Spotrac. He can't turn into a free agent until at least 2026.
Rodgers was traded to the Jets in the offseason following 18 seasons with the Packers. After months of anticipation and much hype, Jets fans had been waiting for the four-time NFL MVP to suit up for Gang Green, with some saying the star quarterback would help meet their Super Bowl expectations.The injury likely sunk those hopes and raised the possibility Rodgers could retire given his age. Sports media star and former NFL punter Pat McAfee speculated his friend, Rodgers, wouldn't walk away from the game.
The Jets' next game is against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday. Zack Wilson, who took over after Rodgers exited, will be the Jets' starting quarterback the rest of the season, Saleh said.
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