Wednesday, March 29

“I do not want to be part of a reconstruction if I am going to continue playing”

Aaron Rodgers was “a little numb” after the Green Bay Packers’ 13-10 loss to the San Francisco 49ers, and it had little to do with the 2-degree weather at Lambeau Field.

The Packers were once again pushed out of the postseason after the offense put up just three points in its last nine drives and the special teams sank, again.

The latest postseason outing in Green Bay marks the beginning of another round of questions about the presumed two-time MVP’s future with the Packers. Immediately after the loss, Rodgers said he’s going to take some time before diving into what’s next.

“I didn’t think we’d be talking about this after this game,” Rodgers said. “I’m going to take some time and talk to people here, and then I’m going to take time and make a decision, obviously before free agency starts or anything on that front. It’s new at the moment. A little shocking for sure.” I was hoping to have a good weekend for the NFC Championship, enjoy the lead-up and then start contemplating some things, so I haven’t even let the moment really settle in.”

When he realizes the Packers didn’t make it to the Super Bowl yet again, Rodgers has a lot to weigh down. In that process is the way Green Bay has failed in the postseason. The QB was asked if the way the season ended influences how he thinks about the future.

Packers coach Matt LaFleur said from where he was sitting that the club expects Rodgers to return for an 18th season.

“We certainly want him back here,” LaFleur said. “I think we’d be crazy if we didn’t want him back here. He’s going to be a two-time MVP. This guy does a lot for our football team. Not just what they watch on Sunday or every game day, but what he does on that locker room. How he leads. I know what he puts into this. And certainly, I’m extremely disappointed that we couldn’t get over the hump, not just for him, but for everyone in that locker room.”

Rodgers, however, took a broader view, noting that the Packers have a lot of tough decisions ahead of them, not just for him but for a host of other pending free agents.

“I think this is definitely going to look different going forward,” Rodgers said. “Green Bay has a lot of decisions, a lot of guys with opportunities. So it’s going to be interesting to see how things look in the future. But I’m thankful for this time, for this team. Super disappointed. Discouraged. Frustrated with how I played tonight. Frustrated with how it ended. But I can still be thankful for this season and these guys.”

The Packers are projected to be more than $40 million over the salary cap heading into next season, with pending free agents like star wide receiver Davante Adams, who could be franchise-tagged if no deal is struck. long term.

“I don’t know. That’s a fair question,” he said. “Definitely one I’ve thought about. But there’s a lot of decisions to be made. Key players, a lot of guys that played tonight … so many guys whose contracts are up or on the verge of the salary cap. So a lot of decisions to be made. I don’t want to be part of a rebuild if I’m going to keep playing. So a lot of decisions in the next few months.”

If the Packers, with Jordan Love waiting in the wings, prepare for a big overhaul, Rodgers could look for greener pastures.

For now, the quarterback wouldn’t go into detail about whether a trade request or retirement was in his future.

“It’s hard to say right now,” he said. “I don’t think it’s fair for anyone or me to really go down those paths at this point. It’s disappointing. Sad. And fresh. So a lot of talk in the next week or so, and start contemplating after that.”

For 17 seasons, Rodgers has only known one franchise. He’s won MVP, a Super Bowl and every individual accolade a QB could command. But once again, a second trip to play for a Lombardi Trophy eluded Green Bay and Rodgers.

Rodgers was asked if Saturday was his last game with the Packers and how he viewed his legacy.

“I don’t know. It’s raw right now,” he said. “But very proud of what I’ve been able to accomplish here. Grateful, deeply grateful for so many years here in the organization and all the amazing teammates and coaches that I’ve had over the years. That’s part of the legacy, the friendships. , and the memories on and off the field. But I’m still super competitive, I still know I can play at a high level. So it’s going to be a tough call. There’s a lot of things to weigh in the next few weeks. But man, a lot of gratitude for this city and this organization.

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One thing is for sure: In the coming weeks, Rodgers’ future in Green Bay and the NFL will be a hotly debated topic.

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