Stephen A. Smith has made one thing clear: He does not want Aaron Rodgers back on the football field this season.
The ESPN “First Take” personality spoke about Rodgers’ return to practice this week as the Jets opened up the 21-day window for the quarterback.
Rodgers, who tore his Achilles on his first series with the Jets in Week 1, has said he wants to try to get back into game action this season if at all possible.
But Smith, taking into consideration that the Jets have lost four in a row and are now 4-7 with slim playoff hopes, does not think that it makes sense for the 39-year-old quarterback to return this season, especially if the games are meaningless in the standings.
“The New York Jets lost four straight. They’re 4-7. You’re playing for nothing. What are we doing? Take your ass home. Go on ‘The Pat McAfee Show’ every Tuesday. Kick your feet up. Relax,” Smith said on Friday’s “First Take.”
“You’re gonna come back for what? You make one wrong move, it’s your Achilles, and something else can happen to you for what? What purpose does it serve? This is a stupid thing to do. Sit your ass home.”
Co-panelists Dan Orlovsky and Damien Woody agreed that Rodgers coming back — if the Jets are fully out of the playoff mix — gives them no edge for next season.
What Orlovsky suggested, if Rodgers is medically cleared by doctors, he could come back for one play to “check the box” that he came so far in his rehab.
Smith still thought the idea was preposterous and “dumb,” though Orlovsky pushed back and said an accomplishment like getting back on the field would matter to Rodgers.
The Jets signal-caller, for his part, posted a heartfelt message on his Instagram Story this week after his first practice and later described his line of thinking about a potential return.
“My thing is, what’s the worst that can happen? Something unfortunate again,” Rodgers told reporters Thursday about his mindset. “Then you just slow the rehab down. By my own timetable, if you take the rehab slower and a little more deliberate, five months, six months max is probably the length to get back to 100 percent. In my opinion, there’s not a downside to coming back and re-injuring it.”
While Rodgers has said he’s obviously not 100 percent yet, there is a chance he could be back on the field in mid-to-late December.
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