Following social media backlash after the Jets placed Aaron Rodgers on the active roster last week, the quarterback finally decided to set the record straight.
During his weekly appearance on The Pat McAfee Show on Tuesday, Rodgers said he asked the Jets to revert him back to injured reserve after both sides decided he wouldn’t play again this season.
The Jets ultimately chose to place Rodgers on the 53-man roster so he could continue with his rehab and practice with the team. Because of that, Jets fullback Nick Bawden was released before later being added to the team’s practice squad.
“I figured there would be some conversation about it,” Rodgers said. “The story is simple. We lost the previous week, and I was again targeting the 24th comeback. So I assumed I was gonna go on IR.
“I asked to be put on IR because, you know, there was a conversation — ‘Do you want to practice?’ And I said not at the expense of somebody getting cut. I know how this works and I didn’t feel like I needed to practice to continue my rehab. I could do on-the-field stuff on the side. But obviously, I get overruled there. You know, it is what it is.”
Rodgers tore his Achilles four offensive plays into the season opener against the Bills on Sept. 11. Two days later, he had a “SpeedBridge” surgical procedure, which placed an internal brace on his Achilles.
Rodgers was cleared for some but not all football activities and the Jets opened his 21-day practice window on Nov. 29. He always targeted Dec. 24 against the Commanders as a possible return date. But the four-time MVP also said it wouldn’t “make a ton of sense” to return at less than 100% if the Jets didn’t have a shot at making the playoffs.
Miami defeated the Jets, 30-0, on Dec. 17, eliminating them from postseason contention. The Jets only had three days after that to either elevate Rodgers to the 53-man roster or he would revert back to injured reserve. The latter would’ve forced him to miss the rest of the season.
If Rodgers was placed on injured reserve, he could not practice with the team.
Many fans and even various media outlets criticized the Jets and rosters after he was placed on the 53-man roster.
“Joe [Douglas] and I will always do what we feel is best for the organization, and having him around is a plus,” Jets head coach Robert Saleh said. “Having him on the practice field, he loves the practice field.
“So having him out there, his juice, his energy. Shoot, even Friday leading up into the Washington game, running all the scout team reps and all the smack talk with the defense and the defense got into it and it was just a net positive for us.”
After moving Rodgers to the active roster, the Jets waived Bawden. Once he went unclaimed by another team, the Jets placed Bawden on the practice squad because they could then elevate him for a maximum of three games.
Bawden was elevated from the practice squad for Sunday’s 30-28 victory over the Commanders. However, he was inactive for the game.
“That was an interesting situation,” Rodgers said. “I called Nick right away and just said ‘hey, I just hope you know this isn’t coming from me. I asked them to put me on IR.’ But he actually said, ‘Hey, look, I can get my money. I’m fine. Don’t worry about me.’ He would have gotten elevated this last week if he’d been healthy, but he’ll be back up this week, I’m sure.”