Aaron Rodgers Comments on Changes to Diet, Impact on His Health

Brian MarronFeatured ColumnistJune 6, 2016

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers stretches during an NFL football practice Monday June 6, 2016, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Matt Ludtke)
Matt Ludtke/Associated Press

In an effort to maximize the duration of his playing career, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has made a concerted effort to eat healthier.

Rodgers, who underwent minor knee surgery in January, said last week he had shifted to a vegan-focused diet, per ESPN.com's Rob Demovsky.

"I just wanted to get healthier," Rodgers said. "I've done a lot of research and talked with Adam Korzun, our [team] nutritionist, and some other friends around the league about how I can extend my career and how I can be and feel healthier."

The new diet includes "red meat at times and some chicken" but cuts out dairy products, which means Rodgers can no longer enjoy Wisconsin's notoriously tasty cheese.

The irony was not lost on the Star Tribune's Michael Rand:

Rodgers said he weighs around 218 pounds. He's hoping his diet, including fruits and "mostly vegetables," will help him play longer:

I would like [to] play between 218 and 220. I think that's how I can extend my career if I can eat a little bit better. Because it carries over not just in the offseason, but what you're eating the night before the game and what you're eating in the morning and the afternoon—if it's a night game—just how that [...] affects your performance.

Rodgers said he has weighed as much as 230 pounds during his career and noted that eating healthy can help reduce inflammation.

According to ESPN.com's Jason Wilde, Rodgers' new habits were influenced by another top quarterback, one who is still playing in his late 30s.

"To be honest, Tom Brady is an influencer there because of the stuff he talks about and how healthy he is," Rodgers said.

Rodgers, a two-time NFL MVP, has thrown for over 30 touchdowns four times in the last five seasons. He led the Packers to the playoffs last season while passing for 3,821 yards and 31 scores.

In May, the 6'2" signal-caller said on former teammate A.J. Hawk's podcast (via Wilde) that he hopes to play for six to eight more years. That should be possible, but Green Bay will need to improve its protection of the star quarterback.

The team allowed 47 sacks last season, fifth-most in the NFL. The 38-year-old Brady's New England Patriots conceded 38, the 14th-highest mark in the league.

The Packers ranked 25th in passing offense in 2015—the first time they haven't landed inside the top 10 during Rodgers' eight seasons as the starter.

 

All statistics are courtesy of ESPN.com.