Rodgers’ Future is in Limbo as Packers Fall Short of Playoff Berth

The eyes of Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers twinkled as he gazed in reverence into the Lambeau Field crowd with long-time friend and teammate Randall Cobb.

As the two entered the team’s tunnel, Rodgers threw up his signature love hand gesture before wrapping his arm around Cobb. The two then shared a special moment in an extended trot to the locker room.

After winning four straight games and setting themselves up for a possible playoff push, the Packers’ season abruptly ended Sunday night, losing 20-16 to the Detroit Lions.

Contrary to the Lions, the Packers played undisciplined and sloppy, similar to their play through the first 12 weeks of the season. Receivers dropped balls, Rodgers missed throws and two Packers defenders were awarded costly personal fouls, which led to the Lions scoring points.

One of the personal fouls was on Quay Walker who shoved a personal trainer tending to an injured D’Andre Swift. Walker was swiftly ejected for the second time this season. Walker is the only player in the last 15 years to be ejected multiple times in one season.

“I have a much higher standard for our players than to do something silly like that,” Packers coach Matt LaFleur said after the game. “We’ve had a guy ejected twice. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that in my career. I take that very personally. It is unacceptable.”

After the game, Rodgers stated that the team “probably” deserved to lose when asked if the team got their comeuppance.

“(We) Kinda played like we did before the last few games,” Rodgers said after the game. “Not complimentary football, turned the ball over on offense, (special) teams didn’t really make a splash play, we squandered opportunities in the red zone, terrible on third down, the same things that hurt us all year, hurt us tonight… We just didn’t fix it all season.”

What looms larger than the disappointing loss, is Rodgers’ future in Green Bay. For a third consecutive year, the future of the four-time MVP is up in the air.

The 39-year-old Superbowl-winning quarterback was drafted in the first round of the 2005 draft and has been starting under center since 2008. In March, Rodgers signed a three-year $150 million contract. However, at the start of the 2022 season, Rodgers noted that the contract was really a one-year deal with the potential of two more years being added on based on his desire to continue playing.

Following the game, Rodgers had a 20-minute press conference with the media. He reflected on the season, noting that the Packers’ offense never recovered from the departure of star wide receiver Davante Adams. He also added that had a couple of things gone the Packers’ way in their five-game losing streak, they probably wouldn’t have been in the position they are now.

“Obviously losing Davante was a big deal, but we didn’t fill that void, nobody can,” Rodgers said. “He’s superhuman. He’s phenomenal. There was hope in certain things that was gonna fill that void and ultimately that just didn’t happen. The things that we were able to do may have been taken for granted at times because we were able to create so many different things in the moment over the years.”

Rodgers said that the team is a couple of players away from being contenders, but there are a lot of talented young players currently on the team. Later adding that if they develop and take the year two leap, the offense will improve.

Similar to the press conferences from the playoff losses of the previous two seasons, the conference was somber and emotional. However, this one seemed different.

Rodgers seemed less disappointed and more reflective and grateful. Rodgers said he was thankful for the Packers organization and this season even if it didn’t end how they hoped.

Throughout the press conference, Rodgers repeatedly made one thing clear, he is going to think through whether he wants to play or not. He said he will make a decision on his future when the emotions die down, but he isn’t going to drag his decision on.

“(I) got to see how I am feeling first once the emotions (are) out of it and then have the right conversations and see what the best direction is,” Rodgers said.

Rodgers didn’t rule out the possibility of playing for another team but said his decision to return will not be entirely on him. Earlier in the season Rodgers said if he were to return, it would have to be “mutual” between the organization and him.

“To assume it’s a foregone conclusion (I’ll be back) probably would be slightly egotistical. I’m going to be a realist and understand there are a lot of different parts to this. Like I said I was aware of the possibility of them going young if we had gotten to the point where we were out of it (playoff contention). I am aware of that possibility as well. (It) wouldn’t be the best reality but I know it’s a possibility.”

Rodgers stated that he still feels he can play at a high level. He added that he would be content if he retired because he has a lot of pride based on what he has accomplished in his NFL career.

“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 said. “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 gotta see what it feels like once I get away from this.”

Whether Rodgers will return for another season or hang up the cleats is unclear. But if Sunday night was Rodgers’ last game with the Green and Gold, he will go down as one of the greatest players to ever do it, and someone who brought a sense of joy, excitement and excellence every time he suited up.

“You want to go out winning the Superbowl, but (it’s) very rare that actually gets to happen… It doesn’t always end with rainbows for everybody,” Rodgers said.
Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x