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Aaron Rodgers on retirement after 2021 season: I wouldn’t rule that out

“It won’t be something where I’ll drag it out for months and months.”

Syndication: USA TODAY Dan Powers / USA TODAY NETWORK

The question about Aaron Rodgers returning to the field for the Green Bay Packers in 2022 was inevitably going to come back up. After an offseason of will-he, won’t-he return, the quarterback is now the front-runner for the league’s Most Valuable Player Award and has the Packers in the driver’s seat for the top seed in the NFC going into Week 17 of the regular season.

ESPN Wisconsin’s Jason Wilde asked Rodgers about his thoughts about returning to the team next season on Wednesday, which sparked a flood of information from Rodgers on where he sits with the question at the moment.

Wilde:

Listening to you yesterday talking about your future with Pat [McAfee], I know we talked a couple times last year about how deliberate you were being about savoring every moment in case it was your last year. Are you doing that again this year and is it safe to say, I don’t want to misinterpret what you said yesterday, but you sounded to me like a guy that you’re definitely not going to retire after this season you’re going to play next year, it’s a question of whether it’s here or somewhere else. Is that also accurate?

Rodgers:

I wouldn’t rule that out. I think that I’m just enjoying this season for this season. Playing next year will definitely be in the thought process. One of the things that, and you and I have obviously talked about this over the years, wanting to not be a bum on the way out and to still be able to play I think is important to me. If this year has taught me anything it’s that, you know, 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, week after week now, but I still do love competing and I love being out there. There’ll be a lot of things that I weigh in the offseason.

You know, saying that doesn’t mean, or any of the comments I’ve made doesn’t mean, I’m thinking about elsewhere. I do want to clarify that. The things I’ve said about the team this year, about [general manager] Brian [Gutekunst] and I’s relationship has been heartfelt and genuine and I do appreciate a lot of the things I have seen from the team that are directly related to conversations we had in the offseason. That was meaningful to me. I’ve enjoyed being a part of conversations that directly affect my job, which I talked about in the offseason, and Brian’s taken a lead in that and I do appreciate the way our relationship has grown.

I have a lot of love for [head coach] Matt [LaFleur] and enjoy playing for him. I love my teammates. Coaching staff has been fantastic and they make it fun every single day and the guys is obviously what you play for and having [receiver] Randall [Cobb] back has made this year exponentially greater for me, as far as happiness and going through the weeks and being able to spend time with him and [Cobb’s wife] Aiyda and the kids and it’s been really, really special.

I’m just savoring this year, as much as anything. It won’t be something where I’ll drag it out for months and months. I’ll have conversations with my loved ones after the season, with Brian [Gutekunst] and [team president] Mark [Murphy] and [cap guru] Russ [Ball] and the coaching staff and then make a decision at some point. You know, I’m not going to hold the team back from anything and once I commit, if it’s committing to move forward here, it’ll be a quick decision.

Rodgers, seemingly happy with how the team has developed after his cat-and-mouse offseason, talked about his decision with the tone of someone who genuinely doesn’t know if he will return to the team next season, because he’s focused on this year. At the very least, the fact that he has stated he’s not thinking about playing elsewhere (at the moment) and that he doesn’t plan to drag out the process next offseason should please Packers fans.