Aaron Rodgers drops retirement hint as NFL future hangs in balance
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Aaron Rodgers has dropped the latest update over his uncertain future, suggesting he will make a concrete decision when he is in the right headspace. The Green Bay Packers quarterback – who signed a monster new contract last offseason – is weighing up whether to return to the franchise, join a new team or retire from the NFL.
In the final round of the regular season, he Packers welcomed the Lions to Lambeau Field knowing that a win over their NFC North rivals would ensure safe passage to the Wild Card round of the NFL playoffs. However, the Lions – who had nothing but pride to play for – overcame Rodgers and the Packers as they claimed a 20-16 victory to eliminate the home side.
Rodgers struggled against Detroit, throwing for 205 yards while also tossing an interception. It means the 39-year-old finished the season with 12 interceptions – the most he threw in a single campaign since 2008, his first year as a starter – while he also failed to post a single 300-yard passing game for the first time in his career.
After enduring an offseason littered with speculation surrounding his future a year ago, Rodgers and the Packers are set to enjoy a similar time in 2023. Rodgers has been the starting quarterback in Green Bay since succeeding Brett Favre in 2008 and he fuelled retirement speculation with non-committal answers in the post-game press conference.
Rodgers did little to give a concrete answer over his future in an appearance on the Pat McAfee show on Tuesday. Asked about his decision, Rodgers cryptically said: “We had all the conversations we wanted to have about football for now. They are not pressing for any specific type of answer and I am not mentally or emotionally at that point to give one.
“If I am asked about it, I will respond in honesty but this is not something where I am going to respond to a bunch of inquiries about ‘What are you thinking this week?’ or ‘What are you thinking next week?’
“It’s time to get away from it mentally and physically and emotionally as your body starts to come back after a few weeks of TLC and then you are in a better frame of mind to contemplate to your future.”
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He claimed he was ‘either all-in or out’, adding: “You have a feeling where you are leaning, but a lot of things come into play. Just on my side, it’s the physical part, it’s the emotional part, it’s the spiritual part, it’s the ability to go back out there and give 100 per cent. It’s also the situation with where the team is at and the focus moving forward, short-term, long-term.
“And then it comes down to an intuition and what it feels like in your body and what it feels like in your mind, and once you commit, you commit and move forward, whatever the decision is. I just need some time right now and I don’t need to ask anybody to respect my time or whatever. That’s going to be the answer until I’m ready and when I’m ready to give my opinion like I did last year, I’m all-in or I’m out. “
After Rodgers claimed his second successive MVP award last season, he signed a contract extension which made him the highest paid player in North American sports history on an annual basis. He will earn $50.27 million per year through the 2026 season, when he will be 43 years of age.
Ultimately, Rodgers and Green Bay are entering the offseason shrouded in uncertainty for the third successive year. The two preceding incidents came after home playoff defeats, with the Packers falling in the NFC Championship Game before a Divisional Round defeat to the San Francisco 49ers last year.
Both general manager Brian Gutekunst and head coach Matt LaFleur have publicly stated they hope Rodgers will return for 2023. Last week, Gutekunst said: “He’s certainly going to take some time. I think that’s fair. And as we work through this, I think as he takes his time, makes his decision just on his playing career in general, then we’ll get together and move forward that way.”
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