Flacco led the Jets to a touchdown on their final drive against the Bills last weekend. But Mike White was expected to start — even after throwing four interceptions in the blowout loss to Buffalo — until Zach Wilson was healthy enough to return from a sprained PCL. Saleh made the switch to Flacco, though, citing Miami’s blitz-heavy defense as something the veteran is better equipped to handle.
Flacco, who said he expected to play shortly after returning to the Jets following a brief stint with the Eagles, will now get his chance to lead New York’s offense. Saleh’s decision excited the 36-year-old but did not surprise him.
“I think any time you want to go out there and get on the field, you’re excited about it,” Flacco said. “At the same time, Mike’s a good friend and I thought he played really well when he was in there. It’s part of this league that you go through struggles, so I think you can see the personal and relationship part of it as well.
“I don’t know if I’m surprised about anything in this league at this point. Last week, I had to get in there at the end of the game. You never know what’s going to happen.”
Flacco also made some news Wednesday by confirming that he is not vaccinated, but he opted to focus on his future in football. The former Super Bowl MVP started four games for the Jets in place of Sam Darnold last season and assumed a backup role with the Eagles to begin this season, but he wants to play as much as he can moving forward. Retirement is not in his immediate plans.
“You can’t take this game for granted,” Flacco said. “I’m 14 years in now. I want to play more now than ever. When you’re a backup and you get traded, there’s all kinds of things that are running through your head. You want to go out there and you want to play. Not only that, you need to prove to yourself again that you can play and all of those things. A lot of emotions come up.”
Flacco’s time as the Jets’ starting quarterback this season might be short-lived with Wilson’s return on the horizon. Even if he starts just one game for New York before heading back to the bench to serve as Wilson’s mentor, Flacco will relish the opportunity.
“I wanna keep doing it,” Flacco said. “I’m the kind of guy, you’re going to need to kick me out. Obviously, everybody has an ego, but I want to play this game. I love this game.”