Has Aaron Rodgers already played in his last NFL game?
Unsurprisingly, the Packers’ loss to the 49ers in Saturday’s NFC playoff matchup sparked more rumors about Rodgers’ future. Green Bay’s front office and coaching staff want the MVP candidate to return to the team for the 2022 season, but Rodgers has previously indicated he will consider requesting a trade or retiring from the NFL in addition to staying with the Packers.
Now that his 2021 campaign has ended abruptly, Rodgers must evaluate all of his options sooner than he thought, and he intends to do so quickly. During his Tuesday appearance on “The Pat McAfee Show,” Rodgers told McAfee and AJ Hawk that this would not be a “long drawn out process.” He plans to talk to Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst soon and make a final decision before free agency begins.
What goes through Rodgers’ mind as he deals with the aftermath of another disappointing playoff loss and contemplates his next move? Here are some of his most notable responses from the interview.
Aaron Rodgers on the factors that affect the decision-making process
“When you’re a competitive, hyper-competitive individual, you dream or think about what the ending of a fairy tale is. It doesn’t necessarily mean the Super Bowl, but it’s a pretty good fairy tale. Not many people have been able to walk away like that. Peyton [Manning] did and John Elway did, but not many people have been able to do that.
“So it comes down to how you feel. Can you keep playing? Do you still have the same commitment and enjoyment with the game? And do you want to re-enroll in the grind? I think the only way to know that is probably to walk away a bit.” bit of that, let your mind clear and then think about it.”
Aaron Rodgers on retiring from the NFL and then coming back
“One thing I wouldn’t do, 100 percent wouldn’t do, is retire and then come back a year later. That’s just: I have no desire to do that. That doesn’t make sense. I feel like I’m in the spot relationally with the Packers, in a very good place, especially with Brian and the way our friendship and trust has grown… where it would be a simple conversation. And any outcome of that conversation, in the future, is not going to be some weird confrontation, a war silence or something like that.
Aaron Rodgers on the options in front of him
“I do not think so [free agency is] an option, but everything is definitely on the table. There are things that seem more plausible or more likely, which I won’t necessarily go into. The most important thing is, first, the commitment to play and get through the offseason and train and all of that. [That’s] the first [thing]. And then after that, it’s conversations with my agent and Brian and looking at the wishes of the team, kind of a moving forward mentality. Then make a decision from there.”
Aaron Rodgers on the difficulty of making a final decision
“I think it’s just trusting that I’ll know exactly what to do. Then once you make the decision, that’s the decision, and you move on. Until you get to that certainty, you don’t make a decision.” There’s also a time frame for this because I understand that my decision affects other people’s decisions, and I want to be very sensitive to that. I will definitely make a decision sooner rather than later.”
You can watch the full interview below. (Rodgers’ segment begins around the 2:06 mark.)