GREEN BAY, Wis. – Aaron Rodgers wasn’t happy about Green Bay Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst’s decision to select quarterback Jordan Love when it happened. And he’s probably not happy about it now, either.
But at least he says he’s found an understanding while coming to terms with a harsh, new reality.
“I think the general reaction at first was surprise like many people,” Rodgers said during a conference call with Packers beat reporters on Friday afternoon. “You know, obviously, I’m not going to say that I was thrilled by the pick necessarily. But I understand. The organization is thinking not only about the present but about the future. And I respect that. I understand their focus and their mind-set and, obviously, they thought that he was such a great talent that they needed to go up and get him. So, like I said, generally surprised, but it’s what those guys are paid to do, to put together a roster for now and for the future as well.
Having been drafted in the first round in 2005 when Brett Favre was in place as the team’s legendary starter, Rodgers was acutely aware the team could draft his potential replacement at any point. Still, the team’s current legendary quarterback was caught off-guard by the decision to draft Love. Rodgers is playing under a contract extension that keeps him tied to Green Bay through 2023, and the team reached the NFC Championship Game last season. Not only does the selection of Love not help in Rodgers’ quest to get back to the Super Bowl for the first time since 2010, but it also throws into doubt Rodgers’ desire to start and finish his career in Green Bay.
“It was more the surprise of the pick based on my own feelings of wanting to play into my 40s and then really the realization that it does change the controllables a little bit because, as much as I feel confident in my abilities and what I can accomplish and what we can accomplish, there are some new factors that are out of my control,” Rodgers said. “And so my sincere desire to start and finish with the same organization, just as it has with many other players over the years, may not be a reality at this point. And as much as I understand the organization’s future outlook and wanting to make sure they’re thinking about the team now and down the line, and I respect that, at the same time I still believe in myself and I have a strong desire to play into my 40s. I’m just not sure how that all works together at this point.”
And that’s created an odd reality that the team’s face of the franchise could wind up finishing his career with another team. For the first time publicly, Rodgers acknowledged that possibility.
“What I can control is how I play and making that decision at some point a very hard one,” he said. “You know, if I were to retire in the organization’s timetable, then it’s an easy decision. But if there comes a time where I feel like I can still play at a high level and my body feels great, you know, then there’s other guys that have gone on and played elsewhere.”