Packers head into offseason amid questions about Rodgers’ future
GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - Earlier than many expected heading into the season, but the offseason is here for the Packers.
Green Bay missed the playoffs for the first time in the Matt LaFleur era after a 20-16 defeat at the hands of the Lions on Sunday. Now, as they shift into offseason, there are plenty of questions about whether or not that could be the last time quarterback Aaron Rodgers takes the field as a member of the green and gold.
“It’s a feeling. Do I feel like I have anything left to prove to myself? 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 think I need to get away and contemplate those things. Those are real to me. I have a lot of pride in what I’ve accomplished in this league, but I’m also a realist, and I understand where we’re at as a team. We’re a young team; there could be some changes with some of the older guys, and it could be time to step away. But I could take some time and say hell no, man, I need to get back out there and go on another run,” said Aaron Rodgers.
Rodgers is coming off one of his worst seasons statistically. Throwing just 26 touchdowns with 12 interceptions in 2022. This after back-to-back MVP campaigns for Rodgers.
From the ‘beautiful mystery’ of the 2021 offseason, and a contract extension last year, there are plenty of decisions to be made yet again.
“That’s a normal thought, but 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. 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,” said Rodgers.
The future of Green Bay’s star quarterback was a topic of conversation in the locker room on Monday as players got set to take off for the offseason. That includes with some of the players that know him best on a personal level. That includes tackle David Bakhtiari, who said he will not push Rodgers in either direction but is here for his friend and quarterback.
“Obviously I hope not. And if it is, I’ve cherished every moment with him, loved it. He’s a brother to me. We’ll see. I’m not closing the door on anything until I see that man close the door,” said tackle David Bakhtiari.
Rodgers said on Sunday after the game the team may only be a couple players away from contending, and those may already be on the roster. One of the young players that came on as a rookie this year was wide receiver Christian Watson. The second round pick finished with 611 yards and seven touchdowns in his first season with Green Bay.
“I’m extremely thankful to have been able to learn from him, grow with him. I think he pushed me to be a better player, better man each and everyday. I’m thankful for the opportunity if it is the last opportunity or going forward I’m just thankful I got to learn from such an extraordinary athlete,” said wide receiver Christian Watson.
A sentiment that is shared around the locker room this year. Bakhtiari pointed to how Rodgers took a step as a leader this year, and other teammates confirmed that as well.
“He’s meant a lot. I owe [Rodgers] a lot for believing in me. He did a lot for my confidence and did a lot for me. He’s taught me so many things like being resilient, being a leader, so many different things and I thank him for that,” said running back Aaron Jones.
“It’s been awesome. I’ve learned a lot from him over the time. I’ve got nothing but respect. One of the best- in my opinion he’s the best,” said running back AJ Dillon.
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