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Aaron Rodgers was going to take Zach Wilson under his wing, but that apparently didn’t happen.
Publicly, Rodgers raved about the 2021 No. 2 pick, calling him an “amazing young man” in December.
But a new report says the relationship between the two quarterbacks grew distant, literally and figuratively.
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New York Jets quarterbacks Aaron Rodgers, left, and Zach Wilson talk as they stretch at the team’s training facility in Florham Park, N.J., July 23, 2023. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
In the early days of Rodgers’ rehab from the Achilles he tore on his fourth play as a New York Jet, the four-time MVP was working out in California.
That brought Wilson back into the fold. But he was benched after more poor play. He was then reportedly reluctant to get back under center.
So head coach Robert Saleh is said to have asked Rodgers to speak with Wilson and convince him to do so. But that apparently didn’t work because Wilson’s opinion of Rodgers “soured.”
Zach Wilson and Aaron Rodgers of the New York Jets in the first half as the Miami Dolphins defeated the Jets 34-13 at MetLife Stadium Nov. 24, 2023 in East Rutherford, N.J. (Chris Pedota, NorthJersey.com/USA Today Network)
According to The Athletic, Wilson told coaches and staff he “was under the impression he’d have a direct line” to Rodgers, even while he was rehabbing, but Wilson “barely heard from” him.
When that report came out, Rodgers blasted the leak in his own organization on “The Pat McAfee Show.”
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“We need to get to the bottom of whatever this is coming from and put a stop to it privately. There’s no place in a winning culture (for this),” Rodgers said, adding leaks were a “problem with the organization.”
“Put your name on something and stand behind it.”
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers (8) of the New York Jets attempts a pass as Zach Wilson (2) watches during the team’s OTAs at Atlantic Health Jets Training Center June 9, 2023, in Florham Park, N.J. (Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
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The Athletic says Wilson decided to return to the starter’s role only after the public aftermath of the report of his hesitation to start despite “his previous conversation with Saleh” and his “fears of getting injured behind the Jets’ makeshift offensive line.”
Saleh reportedly told Wilson when he was first benched the team would try to trade him in the offseason, yet the team passed on veterans like Joe Flacco, Carson Wentz and Colt McCoy after Rodgers got hurt. Saleh even reportedly thought it’d be a “miracle” if the Jets won eight games with Wilson under center. They won seven.
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