Steve Young, Tom Brady talk Aaron Rodgers and retirement

Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs New York Giants
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Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is once again contemplating something he’s never done. Something Tom Brady did last year. For 40 days.

Hall of Fame quarterback Steve Young and Brady discussed the Rodgers retirement situation during the latest episode of Brady’s Let’s Go! podcast, via It’s a revealing look at Young’s views on what it means to walk away — and Brady’s current views on calling it quits.

“What he’s contemplating is,” Young said regarding Rodgers, “in my mind, a death. And who chooses death? . . . Because when you’re the best at something in the world and then you leave the game and the next day you’re not that anymore and you find out — you know what? — I’m not actually even good at anything else. . . . So you end up wanting so much to go back to the thing I was great at. Not because you want the adulation and people to tell you that you’re great, like there’s something that you’re great at. And as a human being you don’t want to — [‘suck’, Brady said] that’s my highest and best use.”

Young wanted folks to realize the significance of Rodgers’s current deliberations.

“What [Rodgers] is contemplating is a really difficult thing, and people have no idea — having been there and felt that and have to deal with it,” Young said. “I always tell people, ‘The next day you’re at the bottom of a cliff in a broken sack of bones. And then you gotta stand up and start doing something different. But it’s never going to be the same. It’ll never be as all-encompassing, every bit of yourself poured out every week. There’s nothing like it. And that’s why Aaron is sitting in that spot, looking over the cliff going, ‘I don’t want to fall down there. I don’t want to go there. I don’t.’ And that’s really [how I] viscerally feel him today.”

Brady made it clear that he agrees with Young’s take.

“Steve brings out the perfect point,” Brady said. “Those are absolutely legitimate feelings and emotions. And I think the most important thing is the day after the season, and I made this mistake, is not to decide the future.”

Of course, Brady didn’t really decide to retire last year. He was retiring from the Buccaneers and joining another new team — the Dolphins. Once the Brian Flores lawsuit blocked the plan to bring Brady and Sean Payton to Miami, Brady’s only option was to truly retire or to go back to the Buccaneers.

Young said during the pregame show on the night the Bucs erased a 16-3 deficit to beat the Saints that players usually retire because they can’t do it anymore, not because they don’t want to. Brady, in Young’s estimation, can still play at a high level.

So why stop? Once Brady stops, there’s no going back again (unless there is, again).

Brett Favre came back at one point because he heard Phil Simms explain that he had decided to play until they ripped the uniform from his torso.

Brady just set, for the second straight year, the single-season completion record. He may not be as great as he once was, but he’s still pretty damn good. He’s good enough to play for one of the NFL’s teams. And he’s good enough to fill a stadium every week.

Really, why stop now?

22 responses to “Steve Young, Tom Brady talk Aaron Rodgers and retirement

  1. Brady still had weapons and couldn’t move the ball all year. Anyone else would be criticized but he gets praised.

  2. If rodgers retires, then brady wont.
    He’ll want to retire when no other big names do so he gets all the attention.

  3. What if Brett Favre would have played for the Packers until he was 50? What if Drew Bledsoe would have not gotten injured? At some point, walk away and let someone else play.

  4. Great career from Tom, but the VAST majority of us would love to just not see or hear from him for awhile. It’s been over 20yrs, an impressive amount of time to play at a high level. Brady Fatigue is past fatigue at this point it is more like resignation.

  5. “Why stop now?”

    Because there’s more to life than football?
    I get Brady not wanting to retire because he can still play at an elite level, but at some point you’ve got to want more out of life than just being a great quarterback.

  6. Rodgers is no longer the best, or one of the best, in the world. At least not if we’re talking about being a pro QB. Even before his thumb injury his accuracy was hit and miss.

  7. This is actually a fascinating perspective. I wonder what he will ultimately decide. I don’t think he will waver, or retire then un-retire. I think he will make a decision and stick to it.

  8. The excellent players all say that there is nothing like the all-in nature of football, the feeling of being part of a committed brotherhood, the transcendence of doing something very hard very well. We, as fans, shouldn’t be surprised that they don’t want to give up the game, even when they’re not at their peak.

    Steve Young was lucky, in a way. His concussion history forced his hand and made him retire even when he was still playing near the top of his game. Brady doesn’t have some other force pushing him to hang it up. I would be surprised if he quits now. It’s hard to tell if Rodgers feels the same about football as Steve Young and Tom Brady do. He’s always seemed more aloof from his teammates and the coaches. He has other strong interests, too. If I was forced to bet, I’d say he’ll return to the Packers after some long conversations with them about draft and free agency needs.

  9. Young and Brady played for perennial Super Bowl contenders.

    Rodgers has had a few chances, but for the most part, the Packers success was driven by Rodgers.

    He’s not looking down at a bag of bones. He’s carted the bag on his back since 2011.

    It has to be exhausting.

  10. Always have a plan what you are going to DO when retire…a realistic plan. If you don’t have anything, don’t retire till they FORCE you to retire.

  11. all players face these decisions. only the attention seeking quarterbacks feel the need to drag us along with them while they are making them….

  12. 90% of what Tom Brady just said is made up, not what he believes, as Tom Brady has told us.

    Fool me once — got me. Twice? Never.

  13. Mike Golic said “Never put too much stock in what a player says right after a game”.
    Rodgers has other opportunities, but he (in my opinion), has hurt his marketability quite a bit in the last few years.
    He’d be walking away from $58 mil. If the Packers want to move on from him with Love, best solution is to agree to a trade, negotiate a new contract, get the Packers something in return.
    Everybody wins something.
    And for the bashers – if he gets serious in the offseason, he’ll be damn good.

  14. I would like to see another year from Rodgers. See how the young receivers do on their second year. Brady should have stayed retired. As much as I am not a fan of Peyton Manning, he did step away when he was on top and didn’t try to push it another year. Have to respect that.

  15. This season’s stats:
    Brady:3rd most passing yards, set the completion record with 490, 25 TD, 9 Int, 22 sacks
    Rodgers: 11th in passing yards, 10th in completions with 350, 26 TD, 12 Int, 32 sacks
    Meet the new boss, same as the old boss

  16. As much as I am not a fan of Peyton Manning, he did step away when he was on top and didn’t try to push it another year.

    Manning was benched his final season. An absolute shell of his former self.

  17. I think Rodgers will go at least one more year, but I honestly don’t think Rodgers needs the NFL and the competition like those other guys do. Admittedly, he does need the ego strokes.

  18. “Even before his thumb injury his accuracy was hit and miss.” What injury? He was never on the injury report. He’s just old and won’t admit it. Not a single 300+ yr game this yr. He’ll milk the $50 or 60 Mil out of GB and come up with a boatload of excuses on McAfee’s show. Poor Jordan L, as AR sticks it to him again.

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