After spending time in the shadows, Aaron Rodgers is getting closer to deciding whether or not to participate in the NFL again in 2023. For the first time since the break, the Packers’ top quarterback has gone on the record, and he stressed the urgency of making a choice in the coming days. The new NFL season begins on March 15, exactly two weeks from today, but teams can begin negotiating with free agents on March 13.
As Rodgers stated on Wednesday’s “Aubrey Marcus Show,” “for everybody engaged directly and tangentially, it’s better for a choice sooner.” “I feel really positive about the dialogues that will be had, and those that have already been had, with significant individuals in my life who help me orient myself…
However, I am not interested in having the solution explained to me. Here, inside of me, is where you’ll find the key to your questions. My fingers brushed against a wide range of emotions, on both the light and the somber aspects. I cherish that period of my life. The judgment is definitive and cannot be changed. This decision isn’t made flippantly on my part. I really don’t want to be a burden on anyone… Soon enough, I’ll make a choice, and we’ll proceed in that direction. I anticipate great enthusiasm.
The Packers’ management will be very pleased when Rodgers finally makes up his mind about his destiny. On Tuesday at the NFL Scouting Combine, general manager Brian Gutekunst stressed the importance of hearing from Rodgers as quickly as possible.
He’s a terrific athlete, but until we have those talks, I’m open to anything, Gutekunst said on Tuesday. Those are the sorts of talks that need to happen. We’ll get to his future with the Green Bay Packers and our goals for him in a bit. Soon, we’ll have complete freedom of contract. That’s a big part of what we’re up to, so it would be great to have some answers before then, but I think we’re in excellent shape even if we don’t start talking about it for a while.
Considering that Rodgers vividly remembers the “stress” from Brett Favre’s departure choice story, it sounds like he will help the Packers get some clarification into their QB position before free agency.
In his opinion, “anyone who has a stake in this should make a choice sooner rather than later,” Rodgers said. I still recall the uncertainty that existed in April and May of the year before [Brett] Favre resigned due to the fact that he had not participated in any of the summer activities. The following year, 2008, he retired in March before changing his mind and saying, “No, no, no” in June following organised team activities and “I genuinely want to come back and compete.” Soon after, he was sent to the Jets in a deal. Clearly, that summer was fraught with stress.
Rodgers said he spent parts of his darkness retreat considering retirement and parts of it considering continuing to be an NFL quarterback after the 2022 season, in which the Packers missed the playoffs for the first time under head coach Matt LaFleur and Rodgers had a career-low in passer rating (91.8).
“I spent portions of a couple of days envisioning what it would be like to continue playing and what it would be like to stop,” Rodgers said. What if, instead of insisting that “I’m not just a football player,” I accepted that I am a football player? And now look at the f***ing stunning effect it has had on my existence.
There’s a part of us that wishes to declare, “I’m going to be completely great when I’m done playing” after a lengthy career in the game like mine has been. I have nothing more to justify to anyone. To say that I’ve achieved a lot in this discipline would be an understatement. I can perform solely for the sake of playing. When I leave, I’ll be just great. In other words, “I’ve got a lot going on and a lot I could move to.”
However, “a lot of dread and uncertainty arrived with what retirement looks like that I hadn’t really recognised or considered was there,” Rodgers said as he sat in the dark with his thoughts. My mind went something like this: “I’m good, I’ve got my foundation, charitable work I want to be a part of, business stuff I’ve been nurturing for years now, I have goals outside the game, I want to travel, I want to get body back and not wake up suffering.”
All these reasons for retiring…I had to work through some profound anxieties and doubts about retirement that I had to track all the way back to my youth, my undergraduate years, and my first days in the NFL. The five or six hours I spent listening to all of that helped me come to peace with the fact of retirement and what it would entail.
It was frightening to stop, and it was scary to think about returning to participating and figuring out what that meant. This begs the question, are we talking about Green Bay or another location entirely? What does it feel like to be somewhere else, if that is indeed another place? Right now, it seems like you have your pick between two lovely alternatives, both of which are equally nutritious and unique.
As Guteknust said on Tuesday, it seems like Rodgers is considering his choices.