Aaron Rodgers’ future is always a hot topic.
Some weeks everyone thinks the Packers quarterback will return to the franchise and there are other clues that may indicate he could play elsewhere.
He has given some hints over the season on his weekly appearances on “The Pat McAfee Show” about his feelings on the organization following a turbulent offseason.
Asked Tuesday by McAfee if he loves being a Green Bay Packer after praising the organization for the acquisitions the team has made, Rodgers had a long pause and then said: “I love playing ball.”
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A.J. Hawk, who serves as McAfee’s co-host and was Rodgers’ former teammate in Green Bay, interjected “Steelers, next year.”
Of course, there was plenty of chatter about the relationship between Rodgers and Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin earlier this season.
In an earlier interview with McAfee this season, Rodgers said, “I’m still in Green Bay and having the time of my life.”
McAfee broached the topic of Rodgers’ future following comments made by Cris Collinsworth and Al Michaels on the “Sunday Night Football” broadcast.
Collinsworth and Michaels said based on their pregame production meeting with Rodgers, they felt the three-time MVP quarterback could return to Green Bay next year and that he and general manager Brian Gutekunst appeared to be in a better place.
Those comments certainly captured the attention of the audience despite a competitive game with the Chicago Bears.
“It’s going to be one of the questions for sure,” Rodgers said Tuesday. “I understand that. I haven’t thought about that. At some point, there will be time to reflect, weeks and weeks and weeks away. There were a lot of questions … about that idea where I’m at mentally with the team. I don’t want to overshare in those situations.”
He said the conversations between him and Packers management need to stay between the parties involved.
Rodgers, however, said it’s been “a good year of conversations” with Gutekunst. This echoed what he said to McAfee last month, crediting the moves the team made shortly after the trade deadline.
Rodgers added he’s been involved in a lot of talks with the Packers’ decision-makers about players on the team and other teams in “making the team better.” When he returned to the Packers at the start of training camp, this is something Rodgers said was important to him.
“Based on what I’ve accomplished in this league, the way I care about my teammates, the way I show up in the locker room, the way I lead, the way I conduct myself in the community, it should tie myself to a little bit more input,” Rodgers said during a revealing news conference July 29. “I’m not asking for anything that other great quarterbacks across the last few decades have not gotten.”
One of these conversations apparently was on the Odell Beckham Jr. sweepstakes, Rodgers told McAfee last month. The Packers were one of the star wide receiver’s top choices.
While the Packers didn’t land Beckham, Rodgers is happy with the players Gutekunst has acquired this season, including Rasul Douglas and De’Vondre Campbell.
The Douglas move, Rodgers highlighted, has “paid dividends.” Douglas, signed off the Arizona Cardinals practice squad in October, has had two interceptions returned for touchdowns, including one against the Bears, and also had a game-sealing interception against his old team.
Rodgers said the construction of a team, including the Packers finding a number of players who were “outcast guys” and giving them “a real home,” is why he feels “romantic” about the game.