Top 10 moments from Aaron Rodgers’ interview with Pat McAfee
Top 10 moments from Aaron Rodgers’ interview with Pat McAfee originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
Aaron Rodgers has emerged from the darkness, broken his silence and shed some light on his future.
Appearing on "The Pat McAfee Show" Wednesday afternoon, the future Hall of Fame quarterback confirmed that he was not wanted back by the Green Bay Packers and he intends to play for the New York Jets.
"I made it clear that my intention was to play and my intention was to play for the New York Jets," Rodgers said. "And I haven't been holding anything up at this point, it's been compensation that the Packers are trying to get for me."
So, there you have it. Rodgers eventually will be a Jet. We think?
The interview went in many different directions, as expected with an occasionally eccentric subject like Rodgers, who recently went on a five-day darkness retreat to contemplate his future.
Here are some of the best moments from the interview with the future Jets quarterback.
1. "The Decision, Part II"
Many watching the interview probably expected it to end with Rodgers saying something like, "I'm taking my talents to the Big Apple."
That's because it kind of had the feel of "The Decision" in 2010 when LeBron James announced on live television that he was leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers and "taking his talents to South Beach" to play for the Miami Heat.
"This isn't a decision day," Rodgers then said early in the interview. "This isn't me deciding and announcing to the world that this is what's going on. In fact, that's already happened."
That decision, he said, was made Friday when he agreed to play for the Jets.
2. Dark Days
Rodgers literally went dark for five days and four nights while in an isolation room at a darkness retreat in Oregon.
He shared some of the details during the interview. Rodgers said he very much looked forward to hearing the sound of the door handle each day at six when it was time to eat. Hallucinations kicked in on day three. He even discussed the challenges of going to the bathroom in the pitch-black darkness.
And he admitted his stay could have ended a day early.
"Maybe a little bit longer than I needed," he said. "I felt like by the time I got to the fourth day, I was like, 'OK, I'm ready to come out."
3. "When I came out of the darkness, something changed."
Rodgers went into the dark and came out seeing the light.
When he began the darkness retreat, he said he had what was an open invitation to return to the Packers if he wanted to continue playing. But at the time, he thought he was done playing.
"I gotta admit, I went into the darkness 90 percent retiring and 10 percent playing," he said.
When the lights came back on, both sentiments had changed. Rodgers wanted to play, but the Packers didn't want Rodgers.
"Now when I came out of the darkness, something changed. I'm not exactly sure what that was, but something changed. And I got back to my phone after five days off of it because your phone is not on the entire time, there is no WiFi on that hippie mountain. And when I got back to that little shack they had where there's one bar of WiFi, back to text messages and e-mails and all different things, I realized there had been a little bit of a shift. And I heard from multiple people that I trust around the league, players mostly, that there was some shopping going on. That they were interested in actually moving me."
4. Ghosting Adam Schefter
ESPN's NFL Insider Adam Schefter attempted to send Rodgers a text message. It didn't go well.
"Ask Schefter what I text him when he somehow got my number and text me," Rodgers said during the interview.
Rodgers didn't elaborate, so Schefter confirmed the news himself by tweeting a screenshot of the text.
"Lose my number. Good try tho.," Rodgers had responded.
Confirming Aaron Rodgersâ report: pic.twitter.com/XRhhd58Qm5
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 15, 2023
Rodgers was then asked what Schefter had said in his text.
"I can do that if he wants to put my text out there," Rodgers said. "He doesn't want that, does he?"
5. The Wish List
The Jets already checked one item off Rodgers' wish list.
Rodgers reportedly gave the Jets a list of free agents he'd like the team to target and sign. That list included Odell Beckham Jr. and his former Packers teammates Allen Lazard, Randall Cobb and Marcedes Lewis. The Jets then reportedly signed Lazard to a four-year, $44 million deal on Tuesday.
But was there really a wish list?
"From what I've seen, it's like I had a sheet of paper when I met with the Jets and I said, 'Sign these people!'” Rodgers said. “That's not the reality. It's so ridiculous. It's so stupid to think that I would do that, number one. Did they ask me about certain guys I played with over the years? Of course. Did I talk glowingly about teammates that I love? Yeah, why wouldn't you? Do I love those guys on the list? Of course. Do I make demands about certain people? People want these things to be so true. That like I'm in this meeting dressed in ceremony regalia giving them some sort of handwritten parchment demand list of people they need to sign...My only demand is for transparency."
6. The Nathaniel Hackett Factor
If Rodgers really did have a wish list, the first item on it might have been his former Packers offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett.
The Jets checked that one off in January when they surprisingly hired Hackett, who had just been fired by the Denver Broncos after one dismal season as head coach.
"There's a lot of reasons why the Jets are attractive," Rodgers said. "But there's one coach who has meant as much to me as any coach that I've ever had, and he happens to be the coordinator there."
The hiring of Hackett was viewed by many as the first step in the Jets' recruiting process for Rodgers.
"That actually diminishes the ability that he has to coach football and connect with people," Rodgers said. "That is to me a f***ing objective reality that anybody that's been around Nathaniel Hackett knows that he brings a lot of energy, a lot of fun. He's an incredible teacher of the game, especially the quarterback position. And he's a really good human being. So, for people to say that was done just in an attempt to lure me is a total disservice to Nathaniel Hackett, what he has accomplished in his career, the kind of person he is."
7. I won't mention any names … but his name is Davante Adams
Rodgers was asked if any other teams besides the Jets were interested in him. Without actually saying it, he alluded to the Las Vegas Raiders.
"I think there were other teams that were interested and obviously there are certain players that I have a lot of love and affinity for and reuniting with especially one specific person would have been obviously special," Rodgers said.
That led to McAfee mentioning Davante Adams, who the Packers traded to the Raiders prior to last season.
"I'm not mentioning any names, but there's definitely one particular guy who, him and I, have this special kind of unspoken rapport. If I was a demanding person...if there's anybody that I would have wanted to put on a demand list, if you can incorporate any player across the league, it would be one specific person."
Adams’ new quarterback in Las Vegas instead will be Jimmy Garoppolo, who reportedly signed a three-year, $67.5 million deal with the Raiders on Monday.
8. Broadway Aaron?
Legendary Jets quarterback Joe Namath recently said if the team acquires Rodgers, they can unretire his No. 12 so their next franchise QB can wear it.
Rodgers was asked what number he sees himself wearing with his soon-to-be new team.
"With respect to the emotions, I think they'll be time for all those conversations down the road," he said. "Today was about talking about the past and the love I have for the team and then giving an update on what's going on today. So, that's a great question. I've seen what Joe said. There will be time to talk about that down the road."
Prediction: Rodgers chooses a new number out of respect for Broadway Joe.
9. GOAT Packer?
Rodgers threw himself into the conversation of greatest Packer of all time.
"I would say this is debatable, but I'm debatably the best player in franchise history," Rodgers said. "I'm in the conversation for sure. What's not debatable is I'm the longest-tenured Packer in history. You can debate the first part, obviously Bart, Brett, a number of names have been incredible. But you can't debate that anybody has been there longer than I have. And nobody has bled green and gold like me."
10. The Love Triangle
Aaron Rodgers was the Packers' backup quarterback until Brett Favre was traded to the Jets. Jordan Love was the Packers' backup quarterback until Aaron Rodgers was traded to the Jets.
If that trend continues, Love will be traded to the Jets in like 2037.
Well, maybe not. But Love, who was drafted by the Packers in the first round of the 2020 draft, will finally get his long-awaited opportunity to start in Green Bay this season. Something that Rodgers can relate to after spending his first three seasons on the bench.
"I have nothing but love in my heart for every Packer fan and everybody that works in the organization," Rodgers said. "My life is better because of my time in Green Bay. But we just got to look at the reality. [The Packers] want to move on, they don't want me to come back. And that's fine. They're ready to move on with Jordan. That's awesome. Jordan’s going to be a great player. He's a f***ing great kid. He had a really good year this year, getting better...He's got a bright future in front of him. They’ve got a good young team. I’ve got so many great friends on that team that I'm still going to be great friends with. But the fact of the matter is you got an aging face of the franchise for the last 15 years that it's time to do right by."