On Tuesday, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers made his first comments on The Pat McAfee Show since the post-game press conference in the season finale. Following the loss against the Detroit Lions, Rodgers initially stated that he was going to let some time pass before he made a decision to return to the Packers or retire in the 2023 offseason, but that he wasn’t going to “hold [Green Bay] hostage.”
One week later, Rodgers has apparently yet to make a decision. There will not be an ayahuasca ceremony to attend before his mind is made up, but he claimed that he wants to let his body heal and take the temperature of the team before he commits to another year.
Two quotes stick out from the interview. First, he said, “If there’s a rebuild ahead, I won’t be a part of it.” That seems more than fair, as this is the third offseason of the will-he, won’t-he question surrounding his potential retirement. Rodgers, now a 39-year-old, doesn’t have many years left in the tank.
What qualifies as a “rebuild” in Rodgers’ mind, though? He stated that tight end Marcedes Lewis, a 2023 unrestricted free agent, is “a guy I want to finish my career with.” He also name-dropped receiver Randall Cobb, receiver Allen Lazard, tight end Robert Tonyan and left tackle David Bakhtiari as players who the team needs to make decisions on that could influence how he feels about a return. Cobb, Lazard and Tonyan are also set to be unrestricted free agents this offseason while Bakhtiari has a significant cap hit that could lead to him becoming a cap casualty.
On the topic of Bakhtiari being the Packers’ left tackle next season, general manager Brian Gutekunst stated last week, “I would hope so. We’re hopeful that he kinda cleared some of those injury hurdles.” He was also emphatic, like he was during the bye week, that the team wants Rodgers under center next season.
The second quote that felt significant was when Rodgers declared, “There’s no point in coming back to play football unless you think you can win it all.” That might be the hint on what qualifies a rebuild by the former MVP’s definition. Speaking of which, Rodgers also mentioned that he believes he has the talent to win the league’s Most Valuable Player Award again. I guess his body is healing well.
He wouldn’t go as far as to say that he wouldn’t ever play for another team, citing the “never say never” cliche, but pushed back against the idea. When McAfee poked and prodded, Rodgers only gave ground in a hypothetical situation in which the Packers decided to “go young” and rebuild after he decided he was ready to play in 2023.