Ryan Wood and Pete Dougherty discuss the Packers' final open OTA, including Jeff Janis catching a Hail Mary and Aaron Rodgers dropping pounds in the offseason. (June 6, 2016) USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin
GREEN BAY - Over the past decade, Aaron Rodgers has so openly embraced his Wisconsinite status, it’s sometimes natural to imagine the California kid growing up on a dairy farm.
So Rodgers faced a tough decision this offseason. After a minor knee surgery, he wanted to be healthier. Rodgers said he did research, including discussions with team nutritionist Adam Korzun, about what would be his ideal post-surgery diet.
Ultimately, he decided to cut out dairy. So the Green Bay Packers have a quarterback who, at least for the time being, won’t eat cheese.
“I ate more of a vegan diet,” Rodgers said, “with some red meat at times and some chicken, but tried to stick to a lot of fruits and vegetables — but mostly vegetables.”
The lack of fatty foods has made a difference for the quarterback’s physique. Rodgers said he dropped his weight to roughly 218 pounds. It’s the lightest he has been since 2007, the year before he became the Packers starting quarterback.
Rodgers is listed at 225 pounds on the Packers roster. In the past, he said, his heaviest playing weight was roughly 230.
The extra weight never limited Rodgers on the field. He is a two-time MVP, one of the NFL’s best players. He also turned 32 years old in December.
Twelve seasons into his NFL career, nine as a full-time starter, Rodgers knows his younger years are behind him.
“I just wanted to get healthier,” Rodgers said. “I’ve done a lot of research and talked with Adam Korzun, our nutritionist, and some other friends around the league about how I can extend my career and how I can be and feel healthier. Through your eating, you can reduce inflammation. Because if you do research, you learn the different foods you eat can actually increase the inflammation in your body — and especially in certain parts of your body.
“With a knee condition I’ve had for a long time, it really started after the surgery, thinking about exactly what I’m going to eat the first couple of weeks after surgery to kind of limit the amount of inflammation in my knee, and carried that around the rest of the offseason.”
It’s a reality check to hear Rodgers discuss taking necessary steps to extend his career.
Certainly, he should have plenty of good football ahead. Rodgers has made it clear he’d like to play until he is 40 years old. With advancements in medicine, the 40-year-old milestone is more attainable in today’s NFL than ever before.
Still, it takes work to reach that threshold. For Rodgers, that work has begun.
“I would like play between 218 and 220 (pounds),” Rodgers said. “I think that’s how I can extend my career, if I can eat a little bit better. Because it carries over not just in the offseason, but what you’re eating the night before the game and what you’re eating in the morning and the afternoon — if it’s a night game — just how that it affects your performance.”