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Aaron Rodgers Retirement Watch 2023 has officially begun

“I’m not gonna hold [the Packers] hostage.”

Detroit Lions v Green Bay Packers Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

Since the selection of quarterback Jordan Love in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft, there has been a will-he, won’t-he question surrounding Green Bay Packers starting quarterback Aaron Rodgers and a potential retirement. On draft day in 2021, there were rumors that he wanted to be traded to the San Francisco 49ers. In 2022, Rodgers dragged out a contract negotiation with the Packers until March.

During the bye week this season, general manager Brian Gutekunst and head coach Matt LaFleur stated plainly that they would like for Rodgers to return to the team in 2023. LaFleur reiterated those comments on Sunday after the Packers’ season-ending loss to the Detroit Lions. As Gutekunst put it, “We went through something in the offseason where there was a very big commitment on our part. It wasn’t certainly for one year.” Gutekunst also said he had seen enough of Love to make a decision on his upcoming fifth-year option, hinting that the team is planning to pick it up.

So the ball is in Rodgers’ court now. If he wants to return, the door is open. Does he want to walk through that door, though, or is he willing to go out with a home regular-season loss against the Lions in an 8-9 season?

After the Week 18 matchup with the Lions went final, Detroit rookie receiver Jameson Williams asked Rodgers for a jersey exchange — a fairly common practice in today’s NFL. Rodgers responded, “I’m gonna hold onto this one.”

And we’re off! Does Rodgers think that this is a jersey from his final NFL game? Is he going to retire?

When Rodgers was pressed on retirement in the post-game press conference, he said, “I mean it’s a little raw right now. It’s just a little bit after the game. I want to take the emotion out of it and have conversations and see where the organization’s at. See how I feel after some time has passed.”

He later mentioned that he’s “not gonna hold [the Packers] hostage” and that it would need to be a mutual decision for him to return to Green Bay next season. Let the speculation begin. See you in March.