Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers conducted a conference call on Friday with Wisconsin media. And some have taken issue with our characterization of Rodgers’ comments regarding the possibility of finishing his career elsewhere.
Here’s the full content of the tweet that carried with it a link to our story on Rodgers’ future in Green Bay, given the team’s decision to trade up in round one to select quarterback Jordan Love: “Aaron Rodgers talks publicly for the first time about the Jordan Love selection, making it clear that if the Packers want to move on from Rodgers before Rodgers wants to move on from the game, he’ll play elsewhere.”
Some Packers fans who don’t want to consider the handwriting on the wall objected to this characterization. So I pulled up the audio of the conference call, found the key question and answer, and transcribed both.
Here’s the question: “I know we’ve all heard you say you wanted to finish your career as a Packer even beyond your current contract. Do you think that this affects that in any way and is that still your plan to do that?”
“Well, I think what it does is just reinforce kind of the adage that you can only control what you can control,” Rodgers said in response. “And it’s always been, you know, a mantra for myself. I think any, you know, any great athlete, there’s things that are just out of our control. That obviously is something that’s very important to me but I think is definitely, the feeling at this point, that that is 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 on the organization’s timetable, then it’s an easy decision. But if there comes a time where I still I feel like I can play at a high level and my body feels great, there are other guys that have gone on and played elsewhere.”
That’s as clear as it can be, folks. Rodgers wants to play into his 40s. Rodgers wants to retire as a Packer. He currently has four years left on his contract. Love eventually will sign a four-year contract, with a fifth-year option.
So will the Packers pay Love first-round money for four years to back up Rodgers? Will they sign Love to a second contract to serve as the understudy and eventual starter once Rodgers leaves? Will they extend Rodgers beyond 2023?
By saying he intends to play into his 40s, and given that he turns 40 in December of 2023, Rodgers presumably wants to play at least through the 2024 season, when he’ll turn 41. That’s five full seasons, minimum.
So if, within the next five (or six . . . or seven) seasons, the Packers decide to move on to Love and if Rodgers still wants to play, what will he do?
“You know, if I were to retire on the organization’s timetable, then it’s an easy decision. But if there comes a time where I still I feel like I can play at a high level and my body feels great, there are other guys that have gone on and played elsewhere,” Rodgers said.
Packers fans may not want to think about Rodgers wearing a different uniform than the only one he’s ever worn, but he made it clear on Friday that he’ll do it if the team’s timetable for replacing him doesn’t mesh with his timetable for walking away.
Did he literally say, “I will play for someone else if the Packers don’t want me and I want to keep playing”? No. Did he essentially say that? Absolutely.