Aaron Rodgers said he found an inner peace during his four-day blackout last week about what his football future holds, but he wouldn’t reveal what that decision is — or even if he’s made it.
But the Green Bay Packers quarterback, during an hour-and-41 minute interview on the Aubrey Marcus Podcast that aired Wednesday, promised it won’t take long to decide.
“It’s better for anyone interested to make a decision sooner rather than later,” Rodgers said.
A day earlier, Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst told the NFL scouting combine that there had been little or no discussion with Rodgers since they completed their end-of-season meetings in mid-January. Gutekunst said he hoped for a decision before free agency begins in less than two weeks.
“I feel really good about the conversations that are going to happen, that have been had with important people in my life, including myself, that have helped me get my bearings,” Rodgers told Marcus. “But I’m not looking for someone to tell me what the answer is. All the answers are right inside me, and I touched a lot of them — and certainly the emotions on both sides — during the darkness, and I” I’m grateful for that time. There is a final decision, and I do not make it lightly.
“I don’t want to drag anybody around. Look, I’m answering questions about it because they did. I’m talking about it because it’s important to me. If you don’t like it, if you think it’s drama, you think I’m a diva or whatever, just tune out . That’s fine. But this is my life, it’s important to me and I’m going to make a decision pretty soon and then we’re going to go down that road and we’re going to be really excited about it.”
It appears that both Rodgers and the Packers are still considering three options: return to the Packers, trade to another team or leave.
Gutekunst, however, has become less committed to wanting Rodgers back. He said Tuesday that he needed to have additional talks with Rodgers before he could chart a path forward.
“He’s a great player, but until we have those conversations, I think all options are on the table right now,” Gutekunst said Tuesday. “But we really need those conversations. We want what’s best for the Green Bay Packers, what’s best for Aaron. So we’ll get to that once those conversations happen.”
“I don’t want to drag anybody around… But this is my life, it’s important to me and I’ll make a decision soon enough and then we’ll go down that road and be really excited about it.”
Rogers said his view of the decision changed during his retreat, which took place in a remote area of southern Oregon. He initially said he felt there was “one scary choice and one unknown”.
“The scary thing was the retirement, and the stranger was coming back and playing and what does that mean?” Rogers said. “Is this Green Bay or somewhere else? If it’s somewhere else, what’s it like to be somewhere else?
“Now, I feel like there are two really beautiful options that both feel really nourishing and distinct.”
Rogers has challenged those who question his methods, whether it’s his sometimes controversial appearances on The Pat McAfee Show or his practice of ayahuasca and retreating into the dark.
He admitted last offseason that he considered retiring before making his decision to return on March 8. Shortly thereafter, he signed a three-year, $150 million contract extension that would have paid him nearly $60 million guaranteed if he played through 2023.
On Marcus’ podcast, he admitted that before he won back-to-back MVPs for the 2020 and 2021 seasons, he wondered if he was still at the top of his game.
“I didn’t have my best year playing (in 2019) and there are probably people who think I’m done,” Rodgers said. “I thought I was done before I became a two-time COVID MVP. So again, there’s going to be plenty of inspiration along the way, but I have a great peace about it that I didn’t have without the darkness, so I’m really grateful for that experience and the things that I’ve been working on are all connected.”