Shades of Mo Vaughn.
When Aaron Rodgers went down with an Achilles heel tear in the fourth play of his first game with the New York Jets on Monday Night Football, it’s hard not to flash back to the case of the Boston Red Sox slugger who came to the Angels in 1999 and promptly fell into the dugout on his first play of the first game of the season, missing 30 games.
Vaughn’s story turned out to be a little better than what might befall a football quarterback. He recovered enough to hit 33 home runs that year with 117 RBIs, but after being traded to the Mets his missed the entire 2001 season and was out of baseball two years later at the age of 36.
Rodgers is 39; he’ll be 40 before it’s Christmas. While some players have lasted long – Tom Brady, for example, made it to 46 while still playing well – it’s a rarity. As we age, your body loses muscle mass and our tendons and ligaments lose elasticity. And the ground gets harder.
Just as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers rolled the dice to pick up the swan song of Brady, so did the long-suffering New York Jets take a chance that Aaron could replicate that Super Bowl win that the “GOAT” brought in 2020.
We who are …uh … over … a certain age often refuse to give in to the march of time. Men get toupees or use comb-overs; women dye their hair and put on more makeup.
But there’s no cosmetic fix for what Aaron’s got. He may be done in football, for good. But who’s to say he might not turn out to be a world champ in, say, pickleball?
Jim Tortolano can no longer dunk a basketball. But, then again, he never could.