Aaron Rodgers has been adamant about wanting to finish his NFL playing career with the Green Bay Packers, but the two-time MVP quarterback recognizes his future is now less in his control than ever before.
Rodgers carried a confident tone while speaking with members of the media Friday afternoon despite admitting he was surprised to see the Packers draft Utah State quarterback Jordan Love with their first-round pick in the 2020 NFL draft. He said he understood their decision to build for the future and looks forward to building a strong relationship with Love, as he has done with his other backup quarterbacks over the years.
Though, when it comes to accomplishing his goals of both playing into his 40s and finishing his career with the Packers, Rodgers admitted new factors such as Love’s presence have left him wondering how — or if — it can all still fit together.
“As much as I feel confident in my abilities and what I can accomplish and what we can accomplish, there are some new factors that are out of my control,” Rodgers said in Friday’s conference call. “And so my sincere desire to start and finish with the same organization, just as it has with many other players over the years, may not be a reality at this point. And as much as I understand the organization’s future outlook and wanting to make sure they’re thinking about the team now and down the line, and I respect that, at the same time I still believe in myself and I have a strong desire to play into my 40s. I’m just not sure how that all works together at this point.”
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Rodgers Won’t Rule out Playing Elsewhere
Brett Favre finished his career with the Minnesota Vikings after a post-Packers stint with the New York Jets. Peyton Manning flipped from the Indianapolis Colts to the Denver Broncos — and won a Super Bowl. Now, Tom Brady has become the latest elite quarterback to change sides after signing with Tampa Bay this offseason after two decades in New England.
So, could Rodgers be next? He won’t rule it out, even though he’d rather stay a Packer for life.
“That obviously is something that’s very important to me,” Rodgers said Friday of finishing his NFL career in Green Bay. “But I think it’s definitely telling at this point that it’s truly something that’s out of my control. What I can control is how I play and making that decision at some point a very hard one. You know, if I were to retire in the organization’s timetable, then it’s an easy decision. But if there comes a time where I feel like I can still play at a high level and my body feels great, you know, then there’s other guys that have gone on and played elsewhere.”
Rodgers, 36, is under contract with the Packers through the 2023 season with a possible out for the team after the 2021 season, but he is still considered one of the most talented passers in the modern game. He threw an NFL-low four interceptions in 2019 while passing for 4,002 yards and 26 touchdowns, helping buoy the Packers to a 13-3 finish and home playoff win in spite of inconsistencies with his receiving corps.
"Every time we get together he just continues to prove why he's the leader of our team."
— Green Bay Packers (@packers) May 16, 2020
Barring injuries, Love won’t be asked to step into the spotlight any time in the near future, but the financial advantages start to wane for the Packers if they leave him to sit behind Rodgers for too many seasons. How the organization approaches the situation will expectedly be one of the deciding factors in how the veteran quarterback spends his final years in the NFL.
Until then, Rodgers intends to play to the best of his abilities and leave the Packers with a difficult choice to make when it comes time to pass the torch.
“I’ve never really needed a ton of external motivation,” Rodgers said of his approach to the 2020 season. “You always maybe look for one or two things at different times in your career that kind of fire you up. For me, and I’ve said this at my locker many times, the main motivation is to be able to have consistent play as you get on in years.”