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Aaron Rodgers shares thoughts on retirement, Ben Roethlisberger’s likely home farewell with Steelers

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Despite the fact that he is still playing at an MVP level, Aaron Rodgers can’t guarantee that he will want to start at quarterback for an NFL team next season.

Just last week, the Packers star told ESPN Wisconsin’s Jason Wilde that he wouldn’t rule out retirement after completing the 2021 campaign, as there will be “a lot of things that I’ll weigh in the offseason” before making a final decision. The 38-year-old elaborated on the possibility of walking away from the league during his weekly appearance on “The Pat McAfee Show.”

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“I’ve given a lot of my life to this game,” Rodgers told McAfee. “I didn’t start playing until eighth grade, obviously played four years in high school, played three in college, in my 17th [season with the Packers]. At some point, the ride stops, and you got to get off. You want to, I think, still be able to play, still be able to walk, still be able to have cognitive brain function when you’re done playing. Those are important.”

Through 15 games — he missed Week 9 after being placed on Green Bay’s COVID-19 list — Rodgers has completed 68.6 percent of his passes for 3,977 yards with 35 touchdowns and just four interceptions. He has led the Packers to the No. 1 seed in the NFC, and he may be on his way to earning his fourth MVP award.

“I’ve really been trying, this year, to just stay in the present as much as possible,” Rodgers said. “I know it’s hard because people want to talk about my future and what I want to do. And I respect that, and I appreciate that. But, for me, I can’t have two feet in the past, living in the nostalgia of what we’ve accomplished, the amazing memories, or two feet in the future, thinking about the decisions that are looming moving forward. I’ve just really tried to remain in the present, and that’s allowed me to just enjoy the little things.”

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Rodgers, who stopped by ESPN’s “ManningCast” during what may have been Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger’s last home game, also discussed the possibility of playing his entire professional career with one team. Roethlisberger said that the Week 17 matchup would likely be his final game at Heinz Field, and after a 26-14 win over the Browns, he received what certainly felt like a final sendoff from the home crowd.

Rodgers expressed his appreciation for what Roethlisberger had done and felt that he deserved to have that moment, but he also brought up the retirement of former Lions running back Barry Sanders, who abruptly announced that he would not be returning for the 1999-2000 season in a letter to his hometown newspaper, the Wichita Eagle.

“If you remember, when [Sanders] retired, he had, like, a little note: ‘Hey, guys. Thanks. It was fun. I’m out.’ I always thought how cool that was,” Rodgers said. “He loved the game, but he never was bigger than the game. I think that’s a great way to do it. I think to get the fanfare and respect like Ben did at Heinz Field last night was awesome as well. I think he deserves that. He’s given 18 years [there]. He’s an adult in Pittsburgh. He’s given his life — nearly half of his life, he’s lived in Pittsburgh and played for the Steelers. It’s pretty special.

“There’s some positives to both those things, but I don’t think — I would never want a farewell tour. I just think that has worked for some guys and has been great and cool, and I respect that. But that’s not something I want.”

For now, Rodgers and the Packers are focused on closing out the regular season on a high note in a Week 18 game against the Lions. The result of the game won’t impact Green Bay’s seeding, but Rodgers does plan to play in Detroit.



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