Aaron Rodgers Explains Why His Retirement Might Come As A Surprise

Aaron Rodgers made headlines in the 2021 off-season for his non-football related activities. In May, the Green Bay Packers quarterback caused a stir when he vacationed in Hawaii with his fiancee, actor Shailene Woodley. They were joined by Hollywood star Miles Teller and his wife, Kayleigh Teller, who posted a photo of the foursome on Instagram. Their sojourn to Hawaii ruffled some feathers because it coincided with when the Packers off-season program began, per ESPN. Rogers was also in the middle of a dispute with his franchise. A month earlier, the 2020 NFL MVP took over guest hosting duties on Jeopardy! in April. Ultimately, Rodgers could not continue on the famed quiz show due to conflicts with his playing schedule, per Sports Illustrated.

After the Packers got off to a cold start in the 2021-2022 season, Jermichael Finley, a former teammate of Rodgers', blasted the quarterback for appearing disinterested in football. "Aaron Rodgers looks tired," Finley told TMZ Sports in September. "I bet the guy probably don't want to play football anymore," he added.

Following an off-season that included a standoff with the Packers, and notable extracurricular activities, Rodgers came under scrutiny from various sources for being unfocused. The Packers legend took umbrage with the criticism. "On one hand, it's absolute horses*** to give a platform to people who have no idea what they're talking about as far as my mental state and my focus, my work habits," he said on "The Pat McAfee Show" in September. Months later, Rodgers discussed his possible retirement on the same show. 

How Aaron Rodgers plans to retire

When discussing how he wants to eventually step away from the game, Aaron Rodgers said he wants to follow in the footsteps of another NFL icon: Barry Sanders. "If you remember, he retired with a little note, like, 'Hey guys, thanks it was fun I'm out,'" Rodgers said on "The Pat McAfee Show" on January 4. The Green Bay Packers quarterback desires little fanfare when he retires, and instead wants the focus to be on what's accomplished on the field. "[Sanders] loved the game but he was not bigger than the game and I think that's the way to do it," Rodgers added. However, the former MVP does not begrudge players who opt for a high-profile "final" season. "I respect that but that's not something that I want," he said.

Talk of Rodgers' prospective retirement became rampant after his off-season standoff with the Packers. In July, the Green Bay icon admitted to almost calling it quits. "At various points, deciding if I wanted to even keep playing but the fire still burns and I wanted to be on the football team," Rodgers said, per NFL.com. Even after settling his issues with the franchise, Rodgers still contemplated retirement all the way up until training camp. "I mean, I felt going into the weekend before camp that I was 50/50," he revealed on the "Dan Le Batard & Friends" podcast last August. One thing is for sure — when Rodgers does finally decide to hang up his cleats, it will be a low-key affair.