Jets QB Travis sees himself as Rodgers’ successor

Sports

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — The first goal is to play football again. After that, New York Jets rookie Jordan Travis — only five months removed from a gruesome leg injury that ended his college career — hopes to become Aaron Rodgers‘ heir apparent at quarterback.

It might take some time before that happens, but the former Florida State star acknowledged that the idea of succeeding 40-year-old Rodgers has crossed his mind.

“Yes, sir, I do think about that a lot,” Travis said Saturday at the Jets’ rookie minicamp. “But right now, I’m just focused on where my feet are, just getting healthy and getting everybody around me better, being a great teammate.”

The Jets drafted Travis with the first of three picks in the fifth round (171 overall) because they love his long-term potential. They have no intention of playing him this season, not with Rodgers — a future Hall of Famer — and veteran backup Tyrod Taylor ahead of him on the depth chart.

Rodgers said recently that he might play “two or three or four” more seasons, depending on how his body holds up. Travis could be waiting a while for his shot, but he believes he can be a starter in the NFL.

“One hundred percent,” he said. “Yes, sir.”

Travis, a record-setting, program-elevating quarterback for the Seminoles, still is rehabbing his surgically repaired left ankle. He was in uniform for rookie camp, but he was strictly a bystander. He rode the stationary bike and watched drills from the side, holding a football and looking antsy. On Friday, he tried to join the stretch line and was promptly removed. Easy does it.

“I’m just thankful to have a ball in my hand again and have a helmet on my head,” said Travis, who is looking forward to meeting Rodgers and Taylor.

Travis was leading Florida State to a storybook season until last Nov. 18, when his lower left leg was severely injured against North Alabama. His college career was over, and the Seminoles, despite an undefeated regular season, were excluded from the College Football Playoff, sparking a major controversy.

Travis, 24, said he never doubted he’d get back on the field.

“Never,” he said. “I mean, I love adversity. I love waking up every single day and having to make a choice. It just makes the story a whole lot cooler. I’ve always had that from the day I broke my leg until now. So I love it. So there’s never been a doubt.”

The Jets are hopeful that Travis will be ready to participate in training camp in late July. He will be in catch-up mode, having missed the on-field work in the spring. The team has the luxury of bringing him along slowly, letting him learn from Rodgers and Taylor, who have 32 years of combined experience. The only other quarterback on the roster is Peewee Jarrett, an undrafted rookie from Division II West Florida.

Coach Robert Saleh said the Jets view Travis as “a ball of clay,” a player with exciting potential who needs to polish his throwing mechanics and footwork.

“I think he hasn’t even scratched the surface,” Saleh said. “He was winning games, doing things that were just pure athleticism. If we could tie in the football part to it, I think we’ve got ourselves a pretty damn good football player.”

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