GREEN BAY, Wis. — Aaron Rodgers said Tuesday he doesn’t know how many more seasons he will play — admitting the three-year, $150 million contract extension he signed in March shouldn’t be an indicator. – but he knows where he will end his career.
A year after skipping the Green Bay Packers’ mandatory minicamp as part of his offseason out of dissatisfaction with the organization, he’s been asked if he plans to end his career with the only team he’s ever played for in the NFL. .
“Yeah, definitely,” Rodgers said.
That was in doubt as recently as March, when everything from retirement to asking for a trade was on the table.
Rodgers dispelled that doubt on Tuesday after the Packers’ first mandatory minicamp practice. He had previously skipped most of the voluntary offseason program to train in Southern California instead.
“I’m just here to not get fined,” Rodgers said with a smile, channeling his inner Marshawn Lynch.
Maybe he was only half joking. A source said that last June, after Rodgers skipped the mandatory minicamp, the team sent him a letter informing him that he would be fined for his absence.
Tuesday’s practice was his first chance to pitch to newly acquired receivers Sammy Watkins (signed as a free agent) and 2022 draft picks Christian Watson (second round), Romeo Doubs (fourth round) and Samori Touré ( seventh round). The only key member of the Packers offense who wasn’t present was wide receiver Allen Lazard, who has yet to sign his restricted free agent contract.
“I miss the guys,” Rodgers said, “I love being with the guys. It’s been a great offseason. I’m enjoying my [training] team in Southern California and the work we’ve done. But it’s good to be back here with the guys. Good to meet Christian and Romeo and reacclimatize with some of the older guys. It’s just a matter of timing and they feel the cadence and the urgency and all that, and it’s just nice to be back in the building with these people.
“They’ve been great for me to take care of myself the way I need it most. Obviously it’s worked out for the last couple of years through my game, and I expect nothing less.”
Packers coach Matt LaFleur was initially unsure how much work he would give Rodgers on Tuesday, but after seeing the reigning MVP was in good shape, he allowed Rodgers to participate. at almost every drill, including some 11-on-11s that were at jogging speed.
“The more these guys can get around each other, the more they can learn from each other, the sooner they can start to develop that chemistry that is so important, that we know is so important in determining our success on the court,” LaFleur said. “So I’m just excited that we have him in the building with these young guys and we’ll see how he goes today.”
The Packers are coming off three straight 13-win seasons but have failed to reach the Super Bowl in any of them, including two losses in the NFC Championship Game. And now Rodgers must face life after Davante Adams, the All-Pro wide receiver who wanted to leave Green Bay and was traded this offseason to the Las Vegas Raiders.
“The offense has to change,” Rodgers said. “Last year when you have such a talented guy, it’s probably not an exaggeration to say that 80% of the plays in the passing game were made specifically for 17, so obviously we’re going to do some things a little different. .”
Rodgers is expected to practice again on Wednesday and Thursday, but said he won’t be sticking around for the final OTAs next week. As for his future beyond this season, Rodgers said he only thinks about one season at a time. He called his contract extension a series of one-year deals that were done in part to give the Packers significant salary cap relief this season.
“If you say I’m sure I’m going to play another two, three years and you have a magical season that ends with a championship and you think that might be the best way to go, I don’t want to commit to something,” Rodgers said. “You say, I’m only playing one more year and you have a sour taste in your mouth and you still have the drive and the passion to play one or two more years, I just don’t want to be typecast there- inside.
“So my focus is on this season. I’m never going to hang around in the offseason. The conversations I’ve had with Brian have been very honest and straightforward, and that’s not going to change, and we’re going to sit down after the season, hopefully after a championship and figure out what’s next.”