Though the start of the 2022 season is still roughly three months away, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has let his retirement plans be known.
When asked Tuesday if he planned to finish his career with Green Bay, Rodgers was emphatic that he’d go out as a Packer.
“Yes, definitely,” he said at the first day of Packers mandatory minicamp.
Rodgers, the two-time reigning AP NFL Most Valuable Player, signed a three-year, $150 million extension with the Pack this offseason. However, the length of the deal shouldn’t offer any indication of how much longer Rodgers, 38, will play. While he made it clear he’ll eventually hang it up while donning the green and gold, Rodgers is simply focused on the 2022 season and realizes that how any campaign he plays out will prove pivotal in his decision to continue playing or retire.
“If you say I’m for sure playing two more, three years and then you have a magical season that ends with a championship and think that that might be the best way to ride off, I don’t want to commit to something, ” Rodgers said, via ESPN’s Rob Demovsky. “You say, I’m only playing one more year and you have a bitter taste in your mouth and still got the drive and the passion to play one or two more years, I just don’t want to get pigeonholed into it.
“So I’m focused on this season. I’m never gonna drag it out in the offseason. The conversations I’ve had with [general manager] Brian [Gutekunst] have been very honest and direct, and that’s not going to change, and we’ll sit down after the season, hopefully after a championship and figure out what the next step is.”
Though questions surrounding Rodgers’ future will carry on through the conclusion of his career, there is likewise an abundance of quandaries regarding his receiving corps.
That’s really nothing novel for Rodgers, who’s on the doorstep of playing the final football season of his 30s. Over the past few seasons, there’s been a call for more receiving help to compliment All-Pro standout Davante Adams.
This year around, though, Adams is gone, having been traded to Las Vegas, and that departure has left the Packers’ wide receiver cupboard rather bare, or at least unfamiliar.
Ultimately, Adams wanted out of Green Bay and into Las Vegas to reunite with his college teammate, quarterback Derek Carr.
Rodgers found no flaw in Adams’ reasoning for wishing to leave Titletown.
“We had some really honest conversations about my future here, and how long I wanted to play, and his own thoughts about his future and where he wanted to play, live and raise his family,” Rodgers said, via Ryan Wood of the Green Bay Press-Gazette. “The team obviously stepped up and made a competitive, or even more compelling, offer. Ultimately, Davante thought it was best for him and his family to be in Vegas, so that was tough for sure, but I love Tae and love our connection . I’m a little biased, but it’s hard to think of a better player I played with. He had a chance to be the all-time record in a lot of categories at receiver for us. I thought that might be a little nugget that would kind of keep him here, but Tae made a decision that he thought was in the best decision for him and his family, and I can’t fault him for that at all.”
After he skipped organized team activities, Tuesday was Rodgers’ first time in a while to talk to the media, and also his first opportunity to get to know his new receivers. Among the fresh faces set to line up wide are free-agent acquisition Sammy Watkins and a crop of rookies: second-round pick Christian Watson, fourth-round pick Romeo Doubs and seventh-round pick Samori Toure.
“I miss the guys,” Rodgers said, “I love being around the guys. It’s been a nice offseason. I appreciate my [training] team back in Southern California and the work we put in. But it’s good to be back out here with the guys. Good to meet Christian and Romeo and get reacclimated with some of the older guys. It’s just about timing and them feeling the cadence and the urgency and stuff, and just nice to be back in the building with these people.
“They’ve been great about me taking care of myself the way I best need to. Obviously, it’s worked out the last couple years by my play, and I expect nothing less.”
Packers minicamp runs through Thursday and then OTAs recommendation June 13, but Rodgers said he won’t be in attendance for the latter. That’s the immediate future.
Beyond that, he’s set to retire as a Packer, which at this point last year certainly seemed in question. Just when Rodgers intends to call it a career remains to be determined by the future Hall of Famer. For now, it’s all about getting ready for 2022, a shot at a third MVP in a row and an elusive second trip to the Super Bowl.