Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has finally unveiled the nature of his shared smile with Steelers coach Mike Tomlin in Week 4 of the NFL season.
Pittsburgh fans were intrigued by the viral moment between the two. Indeed, many wondered if it had any significant meaning, considering Rodgers’ uncertain future in Green Bay and the fact Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was already considered to be playing in his final season (his “Monday Night Football” game vs. the Browns is likely his last at Heinz Field).
Eli Manning was quick to ask Rodgers — the fourth and final guest of the Manningcast on Monday — about the background behind the moment. Turns out, it wasn’t much: The Green Bay QB merely flashed a knowing smile at Tomlin, who called a timeout before Rodgers could get a patented free play with 12 Steelers defenders on the field.
So, there you have it, Steelers fans. There was no collusion between Rodgers and Tomlin to bring the three-time MVP — and potential four-time MVP — to Pittsburgh. That said, Rodgers has largely been quiet about what his NFL future holds. He had an extended offseason holdout in Green Bay, ultimately returning to the team with a restructured contract and a larger voice in the Packers’ organizational decisions.
That said, the contract gave him a potential out following the season via trade. Or Green Bay could cut him to avoid a $46.1 million cap hit. Rodgers on Wednesday didn’t rule out retirement after the 2021 season.
“I wouldn’t rule (retirement) out. I think that I’m just enjoying this season for this season,” Rodgers told ESPN’s Jason Wilde. “Playing next year will definitely be in the thought process. One of the things that obviously — and you and I have talked about this over the years — wanting to not be a bum on the way out and to still be able to play, I think, is important to me.
“If this year has taught me anything, it’s that I still can play. I still have a love for the game. I’m still super competitive. I still enjoy the process of the week. I miss practice, and it’s tough to not be out there week after week now. But I still do love competing, and I love being out there. There’ll be a lot of things that I’ll weigh in the offseason.”