Earlier this month, Patrick Mahomes signed a deal that will effectively keep him in Kansas City for the remainder of his NFL career. Aaron Rodgers had hoped for a similar fate, believing he’d be a lifelong Packer. And while that may ultimately still be the case, Green Bay’s puzzling selection of Jordan Love with the 26th pick in April’s draft has introduced a feeling of doubt that even Rodgers can’t deny.
“I wanted to play my entire career in Green Bay,” said Rodgers on the debut episode of 10 Questions with Kyle Brandt on The Ringer Podcast Network. “I love the city. I grew up there, really. I got there when I was 21, I’m 36 now. You know, a lot changes during that time. But look, I get it. I see it completely clearly and I’m not bitter about it.”
Though he claims to be at peace with it, Rodgers admitted he was initially “bummed” upon learning the Packers were drafting his potential successor in the first round, particularly when what Green Bay really needed was receiving depth. The two-time NFL MVP poured himself a taller than usual glass of tequila that night, but he didn’t spend too much time feeling sorry for himself, welcoming his new protégé to Green Bay with a phone call the next day. “I just wanted to make sure he knew that, I know what he was thinking. I know what he was going through. The last thing you want is to deal with any negativity around realizing a childhood dream.”
While Rodgers made clear he isn’t going to roll over for his new challenger, the veteran obviously recognizes the parallels between Love’s arrival and his own tumultuous first few seasons in Green Bay, when he was competing with the likes of franchise icon Brett Favre. “I see the parallels based on age, for sure,” said Rodgers, who still insists he hopes to play into his 40s. “I think it was important for me to go through that experience to understand really what [Love’s] going through and what he’s going to be thinking when we go through the season together.”
When Brandt asked Rodgers how he envisions the situation with Love playing out, the future Hall of Famer acknowledged he could be the odd man out. “Just look at the facts. They traded up, they drafted him. I would say they like him, they want to play him,” said Rodgers, noting the difference in approach from early in his career, when young quarterbacks would often wait years before seeing the field. “Now I think quarterbacks are playing earlier. It gives some latitude for young coaches and GMs to play their guys.”
With mainstays Tom Brady and Philip Rivers changing uniforms this offseason, it’s not farfetched to think Rodgers could finish his career elsewhere. But where? With all kinds of uncertainty at the quarterback position, the Bears would certainly have interest if Rodgers became available. However, Rodgers doesn’t anticipate defecting to his division rival in the near or distant future. “That’s a tough thought right there,” said Rodgers, laughing at Brandt’s comical suggestion.