CORRECTS CITY AND STATE - New York Jets quarterback Aaron...

CORRECTS CITY AND STATE - New York Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers (8) performs stretching drills with quarterback Zach Wilson (2) at the NFL football team's practice facility, Tuesday, May 23, 2023, in Florham Park, N.J. Credit: AP/John Minchillo

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — Zach Wilson wishes he were the Jets’ starting quarterback, but he acknowledged that he didn’t play well enough in his first two NFL seasons.

Learning from Aaron Rodgers has made things easier for Wilson. He looked up to Rodgers as a kid and has developed a close friendship with him. The two spent time together in California in January before the Jets acquired Rodgers.

“Of course I would like to be The Guy,” Wilson said Friday. “At first you’re not always happy about that, but I’m extremely psyched that out of any quarterback we could have brought in, it was him.”

Wilson said the Jets were very up front and open with him throughout the process. He appreciated that they kept him in the loop on what offensive coordinators and quarterbacks they were pursuing.

“I can’t be bitter with the situation,” he said. “I didn’t perform well.”

The Jets drafted Wilson second overall in 2021. He showed flashes as a rookie starter, but he had a rough second season (six touchdown passes, seven interceptions) and was benched twice. This experience has humbled Wilson, but he also feels it’s going to help him in the long run.

“Everything happens for a reason,” he said. “Am I going to have this opportunity to learn from the greatest quarterback of all time and this staff if things didn’t happen the way they did? I’m very optimistic about it.”

Wilson looked more relaxed Friday than he did at any point last season. He said everything was “snowballing” the past two years. Now, he loves coming to work and learning from Rodgers, “an amazing friend.”

“I’m having a ton of fun, like more fun than I’ve had,” he said. “Every day I’m like, ‘Wow, I just learned 10 different things about playing the quarterback position.’ I think I’m getting so eager to be there and soak up all the information that room has.”

Rodgers said he has “a lot of love” for Wilson and loves spending time with him and taking him under his wing.

“I feel like that’s a big part of my role here,” Rodgers said. “Not just to play at a super-high level for this team and help us win but to make sure he’s ready when his time comes. I really enjoy that opportunity.”

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