FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — Jets defensive coordinator Kacy Rodgers was touched by the number of people who reached out to him while he was going through a serious health issue.
Rodgers didn’t coach the last two games, but he was cleared to return to work Monday. He said this week has been business as usual.
“To walk in the locker room and see all the guys, it was good to be back,” Rodgers said after practice on Thursday. “Sometimes you take for granted what it is to be around the guys and be with them every day and the family unit they’ve become.”
Rodgers wouldn’t divulge what ailed him but said he had to undergo a procedure Oct. 15 and needed to await test results. He said he and his family remained positive. When they got the results Monday, everything came back clean, so Rodgers resumed his usual grueling schedule.
Rodgers was in the Jets’ facility last week but stayed in his office most of the time, watching video. He and coach Todd Bowles said they haven’t decided whether Rodgers will go back to calling the defensive plays Sunday against the Vikings. Bowles has done it the past two games.
“Right now we’re going to finish the week and we’ll talk about it towards the end of the week,” Rodgers said.
After Bowles told the players that the defensive coordinator would be away from the team because of a serious health situation and then announced it at a news conference, Rodgers couldn’t believe the number of texts he received.
He said that just as many Jets offensive players contacted him as defensive players, and he also heard from people all around the league.
“Between these guys, former coaches that I coached with, it was kind of strange,” Rodgers said. “I’m looking at my phone and I’m getting texts from guys that I know are in the locker room getting ready for another game. Reaching out. ‘We just heard about you. We’re praying for you.’ This and that. It was just really touching.
“I’ve been coaching now for 26 years. I got numerous, numerous texts. These guys here, they’ve got to concentrate on the game, but thinking about me, it was just was truly touching.”
Rodgers said it was very hard to watch the game from his couch two weeks ago. He was at MetLife Stadium for last Sunday’s win over the Colts, sat in his usual seat and wore the headset, but he didn’t offer any input because he wasn’t part of the game-planning.
Many of the Jets said they played the game two weeks ago for Rodgers and that their spirits were lifted this past week from seeing and talking with him before the game.
“That’s really priceless,” Rodgers said. “From my standpoint, you never want to be a distraction to the team. Everybody else was having to pick up from the coaches, Todd had to do more, the rest of the assistants had to do more, for the players. They know they have a job to do. I feel like I’m hindering them.
“To know that they were thinking about me while they were trying to do their job really means a lot.”
Rodgers said that the fact that the Jets won both games helped him in this tough time.
“It really did,” he said. “I was like, ‘Dang, I need to stay away more often.’ Those guys have really done a terrific job.”