In his first interview since emerging from an Oregon darkness retreat, Aaron Rodgers said he still hasn't decided whether he'll retire or return to the NFL for the 2023 season.
On the Aubrey Marcus Podcast, the Green Bay Packers QB emphasized that he wants to make the decision "soon," but also wants to be absolutely sure about it so he avoids pulling a Brett Favre. That's not just a turn of phrase — Rodgers actually used Favre's un-retirement as an example of what he doesn't want to do.
“It’s best for anybody who has an interest in this to make a decision sooner rather than later,” Rodgers said via Tyler Dunne. “I remember before [Brett] Favre retired, there were times in April and May, we weren’t sure if he was going to come back because he didn’t come to any of the offseason program. Then in 2008, he actually did retire in March and then said, ‘No, no, no,’ in June after OTAs, I actually want to come back and play. That’s when he was traded to the Jets. There was obviously a lot of tension that summer. For everybody involved directly and indirectly, it’s best for a decision earlier."
Rodgers, who left the four-day darkness retreat after just two days, has already spoken to people about his forthcoming decision. And while he plans to speak with more, he's not looking to them for advice.
“I feel really good about the conversations that are going to be had, that have been had with important people in my life. Yourself included. But I’m not looking for somebody to tell me what the answer is. All the answers are right inside me. I touched many of the feeling on both sides in the darkness. I’m thankful for that time."
Rodgers continued, talking more about a decision he hasn't yet made. But please don't criticize him for discussing it, because it's his life and he doesn't care if people think he's a diva!
“There’s a finality to the decision. I don’t make it lightly. I don’t want to drag anybody around. I’m answering questions about it because I got asked about it. I’m talking about it because it’s important to me. If you don’t like it and you think it’s drama, and you think I’m being a diva or whatever, then just tune it out. That’s fine. But this is my life. It’s important to me. I’lI make a decision soon enough and we’ll go down that road. I’ll be really excited about it.”
Rodgers may be misinterpreting the criticism he's been hearing and seeing. He seems to think people are upset at him for incessantly talking about a decision he hasn't made yet, but that's just a symptom of the true problem: Rodgers is always talking. It's easy for him to throw up his hands and say "don't be angry at me, I'm just answering questions other people asked me," but he's the one who put himself in a position to have to answer questions by agreeing to interviews and weekly appearances on the Pat McAfee Show.
Rodgers' love of talking about himself (and his love of the sound of his own voice) has given us a front row seat to his decision-making process, or at least how he's laid it out in the media: talk about the process of making a decision without actually talking about the decision that has to be made, go to half of a darkness retreat, have a lot of conversations with important people in your life that you admit will have no impact on your decision, then talk more about the process of making a decision.
We can hope that the next step in Rodgers' process is actually making the decision, but even if he does, that may not be the end. If he decides to keep on playing, there's another decider on the horizon: stay in Green Bay, or explore other options like the New York Jets or Las Vegas Raiders. But if he decides to retire at age 39 after 18 seasons, then it's over and Rodgers rides off into the sunset, presumably to start his own podcast.