Aaron Rodgers to ponder future after ’emotion’ of season has handed

GREEN BAY, Wis. — The indicators had been in every single place that Sunday night time was it for Aaron Rodgers: He walked off Lambeau Area along with his arm round finest buddy Randall Cobb, he did not wish to give away his game-worn jersey and he fought again his feelings within the last moments of his postgame session with reporters.

Earlier than anybody drafts retirement papers or a commerce settlement, think about the opposite indicators that got here after the Inexperienced Bay Packers’ season-ending 20-16 loss to the Detroit Lions: He did and stated a few of the identical issues after the Packers’ exit from the playoffs final season. And the season earlier than that.

This time, nevertheless, there can be no playoffs. All of the Packers wanted to do was beat the Lions on Sunday night time they usually had been in. As a substitute, they completed 8-9 and missed the postseason for the primary time in coach Matt LaFleur’s 4 seasons.

“At some point, the carousel comes to a stop and it’s time to get off, and I think you kind of know when that is,” Rodgers stated Sunday. “And that’s what needs to be contemplated. Is it time? Also, what’s the organization doing? That’s part of it, as well. But the competitive fire is always going to be there. I don’t think that ever goes away. Sometimes it gets transferred, I think, to other things that might not ever fill that large void. But like I said, I feel good about what I’ve accomplished in this league and wouldn’t have any regrets walking away. But I got to see what it feels like once I get away from this.”

Final offseason, Rodgers introduced his choice to return on March 8. He signed a three-year, $150 million contract extension shortly thereafter. That deal accommodates a $58.3 million bonus plus greater than $1 million in different ensures if he performs in 2023. Rodgers insisted on Sunday that he might stroll away from that cash.

When requested what the figuring out issue can be, Rodgers stated: “It’s a feeling.” He then proceeded to checklist a number of issues that would affect that feeling.

“Do I feel like I have anything left to prove to myself?” he stated. “Do I want to go back and gear up for another grind? Or is it time? Is time to step away? Is it time for another voice to be leading this team?

“I believe I must get away and ponder these issues. These are actual to me. I’ve numerous delight in what I’ve completed on this league, however I am additionally a realist, and I perceive the place we’re at as a group. We’re a younger group; there may very well be some modifications with a few of the older guys, and it may very well be time to step away. However I might take a while and say hell no, man, I must get again on the market and go on one other run. However I am going to need to see what it seems like as soon as I am away from it.”

Rodgers admitted his decision also could be influenced by whether the Packers bring back players like Cobb, David Bakhtiari, Mason Crosby and Marcedes Lewis.

Even if the organization has yet to tell Rodgers face-to-face whether it wants him, it has done so publicly. Last month, general manager Brian Gutekunst told reporters he wants Rodgers to return. LaFleur said he believes the organization still feels the same way, even after one of Rodgers’ least productive seasons.

“Yeah, in my thoughts, completely,” LaFleur said. “However I believe, finally, he’ll determine that.”

While Rodgers didn’t sound keen on playing for another team in the event he wasn’t ready to retire but the Packers wanted to move on to Jordan Love, he didn’t completely close that door.

Rodgers’ last throw of the season was intercepted by Lions safety Kerby Joseph with 3:27 left in the game. The Packers never got the ball back. It was Rodgers’ 12th interception of the season — second highest only to the 13 he threw in 2008, his first season as a starter. Joseph, who picked off Rodgers twice in the November game at Detroit, became the first player to pick him off three times in a single regular season.

Yet Rodgers had no question in his mind that he can still play at a high level, just like he felt at this time last year, when he had wrapped up his second straight NFL MVP season and the fourth of his career.

“The reply is sure,” he said.

Still, Rodgers found life after the trade of wide receiver Davante Adams to the Las Vegas Raiders in March to be rough sledding, even though the Packers drafted three wideouts in Romeo Doubs, Christian Watson and Samori Toure. Even so, Rodgers said there’s “numerous good, younger expertise on this group [and] if sure guys make the jumps from years one to 2, this offense might look so much totally different.”

Just like he did after the previous campaign, Rodgers said he wanted to get away from the season and “take the emotion out of it.”

That’s something he did for most of his 20 minutes in the media auditorium Sunday night.

Until the end.

That’s when he was asked, if this is it, what he will miss the most. Rodgers paused for 10 seconds and said: “I am going to miss the fellows. I am going to miss the followers.”

He paused again, collected himself and said: “Yeah. Thanks.”

And into one other offseason of contemplation he went.