Aaron Rodgers hopes to have decision “sooner rather than later”
GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) - Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, days after emerging from his darkness retreat, says he hopes to make a decision on his future “sooner rather than later.”
The four-time MVP said in an interview on the Aubrey Marcus Podcast released Wednesday that it’s best for everyone to have a decision soon.
Rodgers, 39, spent much of the 1½-hour conversation describing his recent isolation retreat in which he said he spent four days alone in a dark room.
Rodgers said he feels good about upcoming conversations and doesn’t “want to drag anybody around” in deciding on a potential 19th season. He also said he contemplated answers to a lot of questions and insecurities about retirement -- how he would spend his free time, where he would live, and “How would I fill the competitive hole in my heart? I’ve played sports since I was 6 years old.”
“There’s a finality to the decision,” Rodgers said. “I don’t make it lightly. I don’t want to drag anybody around.”
The podcast was released one day after Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst was asked about Rodgers and said that they “haven’t had the conversations that we need to have yet.” Gutekunst indicated he hoped a decision was made by the start of free agency on March 15.
“There’s been some contact back and forth,” Gutekunst said. “Obviously he’s had some things on his plate. Hopefully those things will happen soon.”
Gutekunst also indicated that he believes 2020 first-round pick Jordan Love is ready to be an NFL starting quarterback. Love has backed up Rodgers the past three seasons.
Rodgers, who is due to make about $59.5 million if he plays, noted that “for everyone involved, directly and indirectly it’s best for a decision earlier.”
He referenced the latter stages of Brett Favre’s career in Green Bay, when the Packers didn’t know whether the Hall of Fame quarterback would play or retire. Rodgers backed up Favre for the first three seasons of his career.
Favre did retire in the spring of 2008 before changing his mind, leading the Packers to trade him to the New York Jets because they already had announced Rodgers as their starter.
“Look, I’m answering questions about it because I get asked about it,” Rodgers said. “I’m talking about it because it’s important to me. If you don’t like it and think it’s drama, me being a diva or whatever, just tune it out. That’s fine. But this is my life. It’s important to me. I’ll make a decision soon enough and we’ll go down that road and be really excited about it.”
Rodgers has noted he planned this retreat several months ago and that it wasn’t planned specifically so that he could think about his football future. Rodgers said he wanted a chance to “disconnect from technology and from the world” and give himself “the gift of rest.”
But the solitude did give him plenty of opportunities to consider the possibilities.
Rodgers said he would have plenty of incentive if he does come back after a 2022 season in which he had his lowest passer rating as a starter after the Packers went 8-9 and missed the playoffs.
He compared it to the situation he faced heading into 2020, which marked the Packers’ second year under coach Matt LaFleur and the season after the team drafted Love. Rodgers earned MVP honors in 2020 and 2021.
“I’ve been doubted before,” Rodgers said. “Honestly I felt in the first year that Matt was here, Matt was in Green Bay in ‘19 and I felt at times like a game manager, like I didn’t quite understand what we were doing at times on offense. My job was to take care of the football and I did. I threw four interceptions and 26 touchdowns, and we were 13-3, but I felt like there was so much more. Then they drafted my replacement and I won MVP twice, and I threw 85 touchdowns and nine interceptions in two years.
“Obviously there were some changes that happened on the team and the coaching staff and I didn’t have my best year playing (last season) and there are probably people who think I’m done. They thought I was done before I became COVID MVP twice. So there would be plenty of inspiration down that road.”
Copyright 2023 Associated Press. WBAY contributed to this report.