Aaron Rodgers not ruling out retirement after 2021 season

Aaron Rodgers dropped a potential bombshell in his press conference Wednesday: He is not ruling out retirement after the current season.

The Packers quarterback, 38, was asked to clarify remarks he made earlier this week on “The Pat McAfee Show” as to whether he’s definitely going to play next season, and whether it would be in Green Bay or potentially elsewhere.

“I wouldn’t rule that out,” Rodgers said. “I’m just enjoying this season for this season, and I think playing next year will definitely be in the thought process. One of the things — wanting to not be a bum on the way out, and still being able to play [well] is important to me.

“If this year has taught me anything, it’s I still can play. I still have a love for the game. I’m still super competitive and still enjoy the process of the week. I miss practice, and it’s tough to not be out there. I still do love competing and I love being out there.”

After an offseason of reports that he was forcing his way out of Green Bay and his own admitted unhappiness, Rodgers said that he is pleased with the current direction of the team and his role in it. The veteran said he will have a lot of things to “weigh” in the offseason.

“Saying that doesn’t mean I would want to play elsewhere,” Rodgers said. “The things that I’ve said about the team this year, about [GM] Brian [Gutekunst]’s and I’s relationship, has been heartfelt and genuine. I do appreciate a lot of the things I’ve seen from the team that are directly related to conversations we had in the offseason. That was meaningful to me. I’ve enjoyed being part of conversations that directly affect my job.”

Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers readies to throw a pass on Saturday, Dec. 25, 2021.
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Rodgers also said he has a lot of love for head coach Matt LaFleur, as well as his Packers teammates.

“They make it fun every single day,” he said, adding that the return of receiver Randall Cobb’s this season has made him “exponentially” happier.

Packers coach Matt LaFleur with Aaron Rodgers on Dec. 29, 2019.
Packers coach Matt LaFleur with Aaron Rodgers on Dec. 29, 2019.
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This past offseason, as an enticement for him to return, the Packers chopped the final year off Rodgers’ contract, which means he would now be eligible to be a free agent after the 2022 season. It stands to reason that if he does return, he and the team would discuss signing a new extension this offseason.

“I’m just savoring this year as much as anything,” Rodgers said. “It won’t be something where I’ll drag it out for months and months. I’ll have conversations with loved ones this season, and with Brian and [president] Mark [Murphy] and [salary cap specialist] Russ [Ball] and the coaching staff, and then make a decision at some point.

Packers receiver Randall Cobb celebrates with quarterback Aaron Rodgers after scoring a touchdown on Oct. 28, 2021.
Packers receiver Randall Cobb celebrates with quarterback Aaron Rodgers after scoring a touchdown on Oct. 28, 2021.
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“I’m not gonna hold the team back from anything. And then once I make a decision to commit, it’ll be a quick decision.”

It would qualify as a major surprise if Rodgers did indeed retire after this season. He is currently the odds-on favorite to win the NFL MVP award for the second straight season. Perhaps if the Packers won the Super Bowl he would consider retiring as a champion as John Elway and Peyton Manning did, but even that would be a stunner at this juncture.