Aaron Rodgers 'surprised' by pick of Jordan Love, admits finishing career with Packers may be out of his control
On Aug. 30, 2018, Aaron Rodgers got on a conference call to talk about a four-year, $176 million contract extension that – on paper – had him playing in green and gold through age 40. He spoke often of commitment and legacy, but he also remained rooted with the harsh reality of how his career started: being drafted with Brett Favre still on the roster.
“I want to go out and prove that I’m still an elite payer in this league, and if I do that then I’ll feel good I’ve got the opportunity to finish my career in Green Bay,” the Packers quarterback said in 2018. “But I’m definitely not arrogant in the mindset that it would never happen to me. It happened to Favrey, it can happen to any of us.”
In April, just shy of 20 months after Rodgers signed that contract, the Packers traded up in the first round of the draft to take Utah State quarterback Jordan Love.
Rodgers admitted that, watching from home with the rest of the country, he was surprised and less than thrilled with the pick of Love largely because it meant Rodgers may not finish his career as a member of the Packers.
“It is definitely telling at this point that is truly something that’s out of my control,” Rodgers said in a conference call Friday. “What I can control is how I play and making that decision at some point a very hard one.
"You know, if I were to retire in the organization’s timetable, then it’s an easy decision. But if there comes a time where I feel like I can still play at a high level and my body feels great, you know, then there’s other guys that have gone on and played elsewhere.”
Rodgers, of course, saw it first-hand when the Packers traded Favre to the New York Jets to clear a path for him in August 2008.
“I think it was more the surprise of the pick based on my own feelings of wanting to play into my 40s and really the realization that it does change the controllables a little bit, because as much as I feel confident in my abilities and what I can accomplish and what we can accomplish, there are some new factors that are out of my control,” Rodgers said.
“And so my sincere desire to start and finish with the same organization, just as it has with many other players over the years, may not be a reality at this point. And as much as I understand the organization’s future outlook and wanting to make sure they’re thinking about the team now and down the line, and I respect that, at the same time, I still believe in myself and have a strong desire to play into my 40s. And I’m just not sure how that all works together at this point.”
Rodgers harbors no ill feelings toward Love and said he looked forward to developing their relationship, but he reiterated a point that Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst and head coach Matt LaFleur made post-draft – that the two-time most valuable player doesn’t need any additional motivation to perform from a backup quarterback.
Perhaps more importantly, Rodgers didn’t express any resentment toward the selection in general – hearkening to his 2018 extension call when he noted it is Gutekunst’s job to make decisions in the best interests of the team.
“I understand,” Rodgers said. “The organization is thinking not only about the present but about the future. And I respect that. I understand that's their focus and their mindset and obviously they thought that he was such a great talent that they needed to go up and get him.
"So like I said, generally surprised, but it’s what those guys are paid to do, to put together a roster for now and for the future as well.”