FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) — Aaron Rodgers’ first season with the New York Jets lasted only four snaps. His impact was felt for far longer.

The 40-year-old quarterback was voted by his teammates the winner of the Jets’ Dennis Byrd Most Inspirational award Friday for his continued leadership during his rehabilitation from a torn left Achilles tendon that ultimately ended his season.

“It’s just the effect that he’s had on this locker room in such a short time is why I think you see him win that award and all the guys here voted for him,” wide receiver Garrett Wilson said. “It says a lot about him and how he’s approached becoming a Jet and being here with us, whether he’s on the field or not.”

Rodgers was hurt during the season opener against Buffalo on Sept. 11, but immediately focused on trying to stage an improbable comeback from an injury that usually takes players anywhere from six to nine months to fully recover.

The four-time NFL MVP reportedly had a “speed bridge” procedure — an internal brace on the Achilles tendon — that helps expedite the healing process. He was attempting to make the fastest comeback from that injury of any known professional athlete.

Rodgers made remarkably fast progress, rejoined the team in Week 12 after primarily rehabilitating in the Los Angeles area and the Jets opened his practice window with the team on Nov. 29. He maintained he was aiming to return to the playing field this season, but a condition was that New York would remain in the playoff hunt. After the Jets (6-10) were eliminated from the race and knowing he wouldn’t be 100% healthy until a few more weeks, Rodgers focused on being ready for next season.

The Jets activated him from injured reserve on Dec. 20 — even though he wouldn’t play again this season — so he could continue to practice with his teammates.

The award is named for the late Byrd, whose career was cut short in 1992 because of a broken neck.

“Aaron’s presence, I’ve said it a million times, he loves his teammates, his teammates love him,” coach Robert Saleh said. “He’s so intentional with how he approaches everyone in the building, he’s very thoughtful in the way he does things, and he’s a tremendous human, he really is, and well deserving of the award.”

Linebacker Quincy Williams, who had a breakout season, was voted the Curtis Martin Team MVP by his teammates. He has a career-high 131 tackles and 15 tackles for loss, ranking among the NFL’s leaders in both categories.

“He’s got all the athleticism in the world and he’s taken his mental every year to a whole new level,” Saleh said, “and fully expecting him to do it again next year.”

NOTES: Among other award winners selected by the team: Ed Block Courage (RB Breece Hall), Kyle Clifton Good Guy (TE Tyler Conklin), Marty Lyons Community Service (ST ace Justin Hardee), Selfless Warrior (LB C.J. Mosley) and Bill Hampton/Rookie Who Acts Like Pro (WR Xavier Gipson). … Saleh said OL Wes Schweitzer (calf) was ruled out for the game at New England on Sunday, but Schweitzer was officially listed as doubtful on the injury report. He remains on injured reserve, but returned to practice on a limited basis this week. … QB Zach Wilson, TE Jeremy Ruckert and OL Jacob Hanson were also previously ruled out while still in the concussion protocol.


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