Aaron Rodgers might not have a problem saying that he thinks about his eventual retirement “all the time,” but he doesn’t want Green Bay Packers fans to worry about him finishing his career as anything but a Packer.
In a June 7 post-practice interview shared by Lily Zhao of Fox 6 Sports, Rodgers told reporters that he “definitely” plans to retire with the Packers, and he seemingly put to bed any speculation that he would someday play for another team.
“Aaron Rodgers said he ‘yes, definitely’ thinks he’ll finish his career with the #Packers,” Zhao tweeted on June 7, the first day of minicamp.
Rodgers also explained how things had changed since January 2021, when he told reporters after the Packers’ loss in the NFC Championship Game that his future was a “beautiful mystery.” He credited key members of the team’s front office — including general manager Brian Gutekunst — for giving him the opportunity to have “very direct conversations” about the state of the franchise and his place within it.
“Look, some conversations had to be had, and I’m happy they were had and I appreciated the honesty,” Rodgers told reporters. “There were some very direct conversations. And I haven’t really shied away from conflict during my time here because I feel like it leads to a resolution that is usually positive for the organization, for everybody involved.”
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How Much Longer Will Rodgers Play?
Rodgers intimated that there was enough common ground between him and the Packers to maintain their union, which is entering its 18th season after he signed a three-year, $150.8 million contract extension in March.
“I’m not saying it’s hand-to-hand conflict or combat. It was just some real serious heart-to-hearts,” Rodgers said. “And as someone who loves this franchise so much, I felt it was important to share my opinions about certain things and my vision for how this place could continue to improve and get better long after I’m gone.”
Now, the question becomes: How much longer until Rodgers calls it a career?
Rodgers had acknowledged that retirement was on his mind during each of the past two offseasons, taking until days before training camp to make his decision to return in 2021 and once again weighing the option this year before signing his new deal.
In terms of talent, though, there could realistically be three or more seasons left in the tank if he feels the Packers can continue to contend for a championship for that long. At 38 years old, Rodgers ranks among the top quarterbacks in the league in at least three early rankings for 2022, including ones where he ranks first, second or third.
Though there surely are other factors at play for Rodgers, winning another Super Bowl with the Packers could be a catalyst for his retirement decision.
Rodgers Saw ‘Positive Things’
Until the day comes when Rodgers says goodbye to the game, Packers fans can rest easy knowing he apparently has mended fences with the team’s leadership.
“I give Mark [Murphy, team president] and Brian and Russ [Ball, executive vice president/director of football operations] a lot of credit for that time and those conversations, and the relationship changes for sure. I mean, it really did,” Rodgers said. “I saw some really positive things with everybody involved. It wasn’t like this relationship [where] your partner is telling you you’re the cause of all the problems; that’s not what I was doing. [There were] a lot of issues and potential solutions, and I’m very proud to be part of the solution and those three especially were a big part of the solution as well.”
Until he officially hangs up his cleats, the rest of us remain in his “beautiful mystery.”