Aaron Rodgers He hasn’t made a decision on whether he wants to return to the Green Bay Packers next season, but he has made clear that the animosity he felt toward the organization at this time last year is over.
Accepted for the fourth time in his NFL MVP career Thursday at the NFL Honors in Los Angeles, Rodgers said he’ll decide what he wants to do in 2022, “in the near future, and I’m not going to make a lot of people wait.”
In the rest of his press conference after receiving the awards, he apparently presented the cases for nearly every possible scenario – although he seemed to downplay the idea of playing for another team when he corrected himself after first stating what “place” would be better. It will be for him.
“I think you have to get some of the feelings out of it and then the tendency to understand what it takes to rejuvenate and feel like it’s a better place,” Rodgers said, stopping himself briefly. “Best decision for me to go forward—not really where—more Just what does it feel like to have a season if that’s what I want to do? The good thing is that I still feel like my body is in a good place.”
A year ago, Rodgers accepted his third MVP award but was not particularly satisfied with the direction the Packers were headed. That came to a head during the sabbatical, and when ESPN’s Adam Shifter reported some details of his misery in April, months of speculation began about whether Rodgers would even play in 2021.
When he finally ended his off-season interception and reported to training camp in July, he detailed his list of grievances and said that despite his return to the team he wasn’t sure how – or even if – his complaint would be dealt with by team president Mark Murphy, Vice President Ross Paul and manager General Brian Gutkunst.
“Obviously there have been some things that have been expressed in the off-season, particularly between him and me, and I’m grateful for the reaction,” Rodgers said Thursday from Gutkunst. “There were a lot of things that were done to make me feel really special and important, for the present, the past and the future of the franchise. And I have to say Ross and Brian especially had a huge role in that and it didn’t go unnoticed.”
Rodgers said shortly after losing the NFC division last month to 49 players that retirement was a possibility, and he reiterated that on Thursday.
“I’ve talked at length at various times about feeling comfortable being away and not playing, and I don’t want to ask more questions than I already have, but I’m not afraid to retire; I’m not afraid to move on,” he said. “I’m so proud of what I’ve accomplished, proud to have accomplished at Green Bay over the past 17 years and excited for the future, whatever or what might happen in the end.
“It’s still very competitive and still [have] That bitter taste from the divisions game, so definitely a lot to weigh, but thankful for the Packers organization and the conversations we had at the end of the season and the way the whole season went. Obviously I was disappointed about some things in the off season. We had a lot of conversations and I felt like there was a lot of growth, and I’m so grateful for that. I am grateful for the relationships – with Brian like no one else. “
Rodgers has one year left on his contract with the Packers, who are facing major salary cap problems this off season. That prompted him to say after the season that he didn’t want to be part of the rebuilding team. Coach Matt LaFleur responded to that by saying the Packers had a plan to reload, not rebuild.
“I think there’s a lot to build on, whether you’re there or not,” Rodgers said. “I think they have a really good core. Should I go back, there are some things that need to be done, probably, to put the team where it needs to be. Do I feel like it’s time to move on? And do something else, I’ll be forever grateful to an organization Green Bay Packers, fan base and all the wonderful 17 years of memories and friendships and special and special moments I got to share with the members of the organization, my teammates, the people who work there and the fans too. I am so grateful for every moment of the journey.”
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