Aaron Rodgers could not lead the Packers to the playoffs in the final game of the 2022 regular season, falling 20-16 to the Lions at Lambeau Field in Week 18. And not even he knows if it will end up being the final game of his NFL career. Addressing reporters after Sunday night's defeat, the reigning MVP quarterback was admittedly undecided about what lies ahead, suggesting he could either retire at age 39 or return in 2023, but will once again need some time to finalize plans alongside the team.
"It's a little raw right now," Rodgers said. "It's just a little bit after the game, so I wanna take the emotion out of it and have conversations and see where the organization is, and see how I feel after some time has passed."
"Do I feel like I have anything left to prove to myself?" the QB asked himself later in the press conference. "Do I wanna go back and gear up for another grind? Or is it time? Is it time to step away? Is it time for another voice to be leading this team? I think I need to get away and contemplate those things. ... It could be time to step away. But I could take some time and say, 'Hell no, man, I need to get back out there and go another run.' But I'll have to see what it feels like once I'm away from it."
Rodgers made it clear that his decision will also factor in the Packers' plans and wishes for 2023, both at QB and elsewhere on the roster. Asked if he'd consider playing for another team in the event Green Bay desired to move on, the former Super Bowl champion downplayed the possibility, instead talking up his current partnership.
"I'm not gonna hold 'em hostage," he said. "I understand we're still in January here, March is free agency, so I just need some time to get the emotion out of it and then figure out what's best. ... I think there's gotta be (a) mutual (decision) on both sides."
Rodgers added that Sunday night's loss, while disappointing, won't factor into his decision regarding 2023 and beyond.
"I have a lot of pride in what I've accomplished in this league," he said. "You wanna go out and win the Super Bowl, but it's very rare that that actually gets to happen. You don't wanna lose your last game and miss out on the playoffs, but this is a great profession and a really tough business and doesn't always end with rainbows for everybody."
Rodgers also reflected on some of the issues that plagued the Packers during their 9-8 season, which was the first time Green Bay posted fewer than 13 wins since Matt LaFleur's arrival as head coach in 2019.
"Obviously losing Davante (Adams) was a big deal, but we didn't fill that void," he said. "And nobody can. He's superhuman. There was hope in certain things that was gonna fill that void, and ultimately that just didn't happen."
Even so, the QB is open to returning, if that's