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Jets QB Aaron Rodgers' advice to Panthers QB Bryce Young: 'Be gentle with yourself. It's a long journey'

Wednesday's joint practice between the Jets and Panthers brought together Aaron Rodgers and Bryce Young -- the league's elder statesman at quarterback and this year's No. 1 overall pick.

Entering his 19th season with 59,055 passing yards, 475 touchdowns, four AP Most Valuable Player awards and 158 wins across the regular season and playoffs, Rodgers has a deep reservoir of knowledge at his disposal, and he was not shy about imparting that wisdom to his lesser-experienced counterpart.

"Be gentle with yourself. It's a long journey," Rodgers revealed he told Young during practice. "It feels like every little snap and practice is the end of the world if it doesn't go right. It's just not true. It's a long, long journey. It's about holding onto your confidence and enjoying the ride. Enjoying the little things every day. But I think he's got a great head on his shoulders, and he'll be just fine."

Rodgers has adapted the mentor role of late for several young quarterbacks across the league. Even as he has taken his job, Rodgers' guiding presence could prove pivotal in revitalizing his backup Zach Wilson's career. Wilson has embraced the opportunity for lessons learned, and recently credited Rodgers for calling a deep shot during the Pro Football Hall of Fame Game that the third-year QB converted into a 57-yard connection.

Rodgers also texted his successor in Green Bay, Jordan Love, advising him to be himself as Packers training camp opened, and now he's provided some perspective for Young. All three signal-callers would be wise to heed the 10-time Pro Bowler's advice.

However many years remain in the future Hall of Famer's career, Rodgers begins his age-40 season with the Jets being a hyped-up contender for Super Bowl glory, largely due to his arrival.

Meanwhile, Young, 17 years his junior, has his entire career in front of him.

"When you talk about someone like Aaron Rodgers who's had so much success for so long, any advice that he gives I'm definitely going to be receptive to and listen to," Young said regarding his meeting of minds with Rodgers.

Young isn't replacing a legend like Rodgers did with Favre or Love must now do following Rodgers, but he still has plenty of pressure on his shoulders to turn around a Panthers team that hasn't enjoyed a winning season since 2017. He comes to Carolina not only as the No. 1 pick in the draft, but also as a prospect whose acquisition required a blockbuster trade.

A Heisman Trophy winner out of Alabama who is more of an elusive passer than a scrambler, Young threw 80 touchdowns to a mere 12 interceptions in three years with the Crimson Tide. Such a ratio is a near impossibility in the pros, so it's imperative he rolls with the punches as Rodgers advised.

Beyond the words, though, Young also absorbed lessons simply by watching the grizzled vet go to work nearby.

"Obviously you could just tell the command, how in control he is, how confident he is in all that he does, and just the efficiency and the decision-making, making quick decisions," Young said. "Knows where to go with the ball and definitely has a great presence about him in the pocket, so again, I have the utmost respect for him."

Young also shared his excitement for the opportunity to watch Rodgers work again in practice on Thursday, and the teams' time together will culminate in Young making his first start during Carolina's preseason opener against New York on Saturday.

Young's career is just in the early stages of getting started. If he manages to take anything from his time with Rodgers, his ride will be all the smoother for it.

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