Aaron Rodgers tells Pat McAfee his glowing comments about Mike Tomlin isn't him 'angling' to play in Pittsburgh next season

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Aaron Rodgers is calculated in what he says.

He knows what he says and does — especially if it's a smile to the opposing team's head coach during a game — will get attention, especially when he admitted upon reporting for training camp that the 2021 season in Green Bay could be his last.

"There's an art to saying a lot without saying a whole bunch," Rodgers said during his weekly appearance on "The Pat McAfee Show" on Tuesday.

The Green Bay Packers' three-time NFL MVP has had a lot to say about Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin over the last couple of weeks.

So what is he trying to say when he praises Tomlin, including again on McAfee's show? Is the 37-year-old hinting at playing in Pittsburgh next year, especially since there could be a need at quarterback with the 39-year-old Ben Roethlisberger at the end of his career?

"I'm just speaking the truth," Rodgers said, two days after the Packers defeated the Steelers 27-17 on Sunday at Lambeau Field. "If you want to take that and run with it, say I'm angling for some sort of next theme, I'm not.

"I'm just answering the question for my respect for what Mike has accomplished over the years."

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But that hasn't stopped fans from dissecting what his glowing comments about Tomlin and even his acknowledgment of him on the sidelines during Sunday's game meant.

A.J. Hawk, McAfee's co-host, said Rodgers was "openly flirting with Mike Tomlin from the field."

Tomlin called a timeout early in the second quarter as Rodgers was trying to catch the Steelers' defense with 12 players on the field and draw a penalty on Pittsburgh, something the quarterback has mastered over the years. Tomlin gave Rodgers a smile and the quarterback gave him sort of a nod of approval.

"He called that timeout ... he was kind of smirking there," Rodgers said. "I like that. I respect that."

Rodgers said he's "a big Mike Tomlin fan. I have been for a long time. I like the way that he speaks about his team, I like the way that he goes about his business, I like his confidence."

McAfee said Rodgers' comments have gotten Pittsburgh "all worked up" and that he could be the city's mayor if he wanted at this point.

Rodgers even got a message on McAfee's show from Pittsburgh Dad, a popular YouTube star in the Steel City.

Rodgers said he's been around Pittsburgh people most of his life and that his former quarterbacks coach, Alex Van Pelt, is from Pittsburgh. Van Pelt, after spending the 2020 season in Cincinnati as the Bengals' quarterbacks coach, is now the offensive coordinator in Cleveland.

Rodgers joked there shouldn't be any talk whether he'll join this week's opponent — the Cincinnati Bengals — next year.

Second-year player Joe Burrow, drafted No. 1 out of LSU in 2020, is the Bengals' starting quarterback and future. 

"I think Cincinnati is pretty safe," Rodgers said. "They got a good, young quarterback. I don't think they're interested in an old bull. 

"They got the young calf." 

Contact Christopher Kuhagen at (262) 446-6634 or christopher.kuhagen@jrn.com. Follow him on Twitter at @ckuhagen and our newsroom Instagram accounts at MyCommunityNow and Lake Country Now.

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