Aaron Rodgers has fueled talk of his retirement from pro football after refusing to swap his shirt with Jameson Williams after Detroit Lions beat Green Bay Packers 20-16 to eliminate them from the playoffs.
Postgame the reigning back-to-back MVP admitted he’s unsure about his future and needs to take time ‘figure out what is best.’ If this were to be his final game in the NFL, Rodgers revealed he ‘would have no regrets.’
Williams was caught on camera postgame asking the quarterback if he can have his jersey, to which the 39-year-old Packers quarterback said: ‘I gotta hold on to this one.’
Many fans felt there was only one reason why Rodgers would want the jersey after a brutal loss to his division rival which ended Green Bay’s season short of the postseason. Though Rodgers himself remained coy as to whether that was a logical conclusion to draw.
‘I think I might have told him I’d give him a jersey when we played in Detroit but there are some special ones I’d like to keep. It was nothing against Jameson,’ Rodgers said postgame.
‘I want to keep this one. It’s a night game, Lambeau, Week 18, there are certain jerseys you like holding on to. Big Sunday night game, a little bit different. It’s not keeping it (Forever) it’s about maybe a cool thing to give someone else.’
Jameson Williams approached Rogers postgame and asked for his jersey after the Lions win
Despite popular thought, Rodgers was assertive postgame that he will not hold the Packers ‘hostage’ if he does indeed decide he wants out as speculation beings to heighten after yet another end of season failure.
The 39-year-old refused to shut the door on a future in the NFL – perhaps one outside of Wisconsin – when discussing his immediate feelings after the crushing loss.
‘I mean it’s a little raw right now,’ he said. ‘It’s a little bit out of the game I want to take the emotion out of it, have conversations and see where the organization is at.
‘I’m not gonna hold them hostage, I understand we are still in January here, March is free agency. I just need some time to get the emotion out of it and figure out what is best. There has got to be mutual, on both sides.’
As for whether the Packer legend would consider a move to another franchise?
‘I don’t know,’ Rodgers admitted. ‘I don’t like saying never but I’ve got to see how I am feeling first, once the emption is out of it. Have the right conversations and see what the best direction is.
Rodgers headed down the tunnel at Lambeau Field interlocked with wideout Randall Cobb (R)
‘I have a lot of pride in what I have accomplished in this league. I obviously didn’t get it done tonight. You don’t want to lose your last game and miss out on the playoffs but this is a great profession, a really tough business and it doesn’t always end in rainbows for people.’
‘Do I feel like I have anything left to prove to myself? Do I want to gear up for another grind? Or is it time to step away? Is it time for another voice to lead this team? I have a lot of pride in what I’ve accomplished in this league but I’m a realist.
‘We are a young team, there could be 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, I need to get back out there.”‘
‘The competitive fire is always going to be there, I don’t think that is ever going away. Sometimes it gets transferred to other things. But I wouldn’t have any regrets walking away. I’ve got to see what it feels like when I get away from this.’
Rodgers walked off the field at Titletown with his good friend Cobb after a disappointing loss
Rodgers’ season was not meant to end like this. The Packers were surging through the second half of the season and came into the home game vs. Detroit on a four-game win streak.
Green Bay were widely considered to be a threat for the upcoming season. Except, they won’t be there.
‘It was a frustrating season at times but there were some really beautiful moments, it is weird to say but I do really believe that,’ Rodgers said in the wake of the season-ending loss.
‘As disappointing as this is, there were some incredible moments and life lessons. As much as this is a real s****y feeling, I’m thankful for the season, the friendships, new friendships on and off the field. That’s the beauty of this game and I’m thankful for it.’
Aaron Rodgers left Lambeau for the final time this season in disappointment after Detroit’s win
Leaving Lambeau Field in January with a hollow feeling is not uncommon for the Packers and Rodgers in recent years. In the previous two seasons, Green Bay lost at home as the NFC’s No. 1 seed.
In 2020, Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Bucs won the NFC Championship Game before Jimmy Garoppolo and the 49ers took care of Green Bay in last season’s NFC Divisional Playoff.
Now, they will not even be a footnote in the playoffs. Its playoff story will be unwritten.
And given his reaction postgame, perhaps Rodgers’ career in Green Bay has seen its final chapter.
The 39-year-old refused to shut the door on a future in the NFL but admitted he was unsure
Rodgers & the Packers have missed the playoffs for the first time since the 2018 NFL season
Just this week, Rodgers was philosophical when discussing the upcoming win-and-in game vs. Detroit. To some, he also left hints that retirement was swirling somewhere within his mind.
‘You don’t know what the future holds,’ Rodgers told reporters Wednesday. ‘But when I think about that, it’s nothing but gratitude.
‘Not remorse or sadness, just gratitude for the time that I’ve been here, the amazing memories that I’ve had on this field.
‘There’ve been a lot of great moments, but I’m still undecided [about next season]. We’re all undecided about the future. Just going to enjoy Sunday night and hopefully have some more to play for.’
The Packers QB threw a crucial interception during the fourth quarter with the Lions leading
Rodgers has also been public about his use of ayahuasca in the past – and the apparent positive effects of it on his play.
The South American hallucinogenic tea is touted as an alternative treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression, with shamans considering the psychedelic a ‘wisdom’ plant that allows an entry into the spiritual world.
‘I did ayahuasca in 2020 and I won two MVPs,’ Rodgers told Fox Sports in September. ‘I don’t believe that it’s a coincidence. I don’t really believe in coincidences.
‘I believe in science and synchronicities, and I really feel like that what that allowed me to do is to have a greater love for the game that I play, greater love for my teammates and I had maybe my best season of my career in 2020 and then followed up last year with an even greater integration of a lot of those lessons.’
Ayahuasca is a South American psychoactive brew used in shamanic spiritual medicine