Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers carries an American flag onto the...

Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers carries an American flag onto the field before playing against the Buffalo Bills at MetLife Stadium on Sept. 11, 2023. Credit: AP/Adam Hunger

A defiant Aaron Rodgers said Friday that he is encouraged by his doubters, adding that his rehab from an Achilles tear “is going to shock some people” and not ruling out a return in the playoffs this year.

Speaking on “The Pat McAfee Show” for the first time since his injury, the Jets quarterback — who tore his Achilles on his fourth play of the season Monday — said he’ll be taking a multifaceted and potentially unorthodox approach to his injury.

“Just because somebody hasn’t ever done it a certain way doesn’t mean it’s not possible,” he said of his recovery, which usually comes with a timetable of eight to 12 months for a professional football player. “Give me the doubts. Give me the timetables. Give me all the things that you think can, should or will happen because all I need is that one little extra percent of inspiration. That’s all I need . . . Give me your prognostications and then watch what I do.”

Rodgers has long been a proponent of alternative medicine, and though he declined to go into specifics, he said he’s “literally spent the last couple days with people all over the country giving me their time and advice.”

Rodgers’ surgeon, renowned orthopedist Dr. Neal ElAttrache, is known for an “internal bracing” technique that’s meant to cut down recovery time (similar in philosophy to the internal bracing sometimes used to perform certain Tommy John surgeries). He performed that surgery on the Rams’ Cam Akers in 2021, with Akers returning in 5  1⁄2 months.

Asked outright if he means to return for this year’s playoffs, Rodgers, 39, said it wouldn’t be fair to his body to put a strict deadline on anything. But: “I think as Kevin Garnett said, anything is possible.”

One thing is clear: Rodgers does not intend to retire.

He’s in the first year of a three-year contract with the Jets, and though he gave himself 24 hours to stew and cry after his injury, a new day heralded renewed determination.

Rodgers said that even as he sat on the table after his injury Monday, he was looking into Kobe Bryant’s Achilles rehab, which occurred during the Hall of Fame shooting guard’s age 34 season. That surgery also was performed by ElAttrache.

“It turned into one of the toughest 24-hour stretches I’ve had in my life, for sure. A lot of sadness. A lot of tears, dark frustration, anger — a gamut of emotions,” Rodgers said. “I definitely have some odds stacked against me based on age, but I like it. Stack all the odds up against me and see what happens. It’s going to be an interesting type of attacking of the rehab because I’m drawing from all these different sources.”

Rodgers also threw his support behind Zach Wilson, though he said he had hoped Wilson would have more time to develop and learn out of the spotlight.

“I’m very confident in Zach,” he said. “I think he’s confident in himself, which I think is the most important thing . . . I’m excited for him. He’s a great kid. Love him and I’m pulling for him.”

Rodgers knew he’d torn his Achilles immediately after getting sacked by Leonard Floyd. He’s had calf issues before, he said, but this felt different. The ensuing emotions were potent, especially given this season’s expectations.

“A lot of the sadness, initially, was just feeling like I let so many people down who had believed in me and supported me and made the transition so incredible,” he said. “You know, a big part of it was how hard I had worked just because I wanted so badly to dominate . . .

“After everybody else came in, [I’m just] sort of blubbering . . . I’m thankful for the tears. It makes you feel like you’re alive. I care about it so much and I care about what we were trying to establish and did establish, chemistry-wise and culture-wise. It just hit me like a ton of bricks for 24 hours. There were moments of just sobbing.”

That, though, was long gone by Friday.

Rodgers said he believes he will be ambulatory soon, and it’s a goal of his to return to the sideline even before he can play again. Though mild in tone and demeanor, he repeatedly encouraged naysayers.

“I want all your prognostications. I want all your own schedules. And I’m going to do my own thing,” he said.

And as for being ready for the playoffs — well, that was a personal coping tool, but one he appears to believe is realistic.

“It doesn’t do anything to make prognostications, honestly, except help my own personal mental state,” Rodgers said. “But yeah, I’m going to try and push this thing as much as it’ll allow me to. There are markers I’ve got to see . . . and then we’ll see what the conversation is.”

Following the injury, Dr. Spencer Stein, a sports orthopedic surgeon at NYU Langone, told NBC, ". . . these ligament injuries are hard. There’s an old adage that’s somewhat true: that bones heal reliably but soft tissues and ligaments are harder to heal.”

Jets coach Robert Saleh said Rodgers is in great spirits.

Regarding the surgery, Saleh said, "From everything we have gathered everything was as good as it could be. We’ve been in contact with him daily. He is excited to get back here. Obviously there is a healing process he has to go through with the incisions and all that stuff, but as soon as that’s done we’ll get him back here. He is fully engaged. He’s awesome.''

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