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Aaron Rodgers 'Still Undecided' on Future with Packers Ahead of Week 18 vs. Lions

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IIJanuary 5, 2023

GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN - JANUARY 01: Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers throws a pass during the first quarter against the Minnesota Vikings at Lambeau Field on January 01, 2023 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Kayla Wolf/Getty Images)
Kayla Wolf/Getty Images

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is focused on the present task at hand—defeating the Detroit Lions on Sunday evening to earn his team a trip to the NFC playoffs—amid uncertainty about what his NFL future holds.

Kyle Malzahn of WFRV Local 5 relayed remarks from Rodgers to reporters Thursday after he was asked if the thought Sunday could potentially be the last time he suits up in Lambeau Field has crossed his mind:

Kyle Malzhan @KyleMalzhan

Whether the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Packers?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Packers</a> get into the playoffs as the 7th seed or not - Sunday will be the final home game this season for Green Bay.<br><br>Yesterday, Aaron Rodgers was asked if he lets the thought of it potentially being his last game played at Lambeau Field cross his mind.<br><br>Full answer: <a href="https://t.co/aILEAyy7Mn">pic.twitter.com/aILEAyy7Mn</a>

"Yeah, I mean, for sure," Rodgers said. "Just 'cause you don't know what the future holds. When I think about that, it's nothing but gratitude. Not remorse or sadness. Just gratitude for the time that I've been here, the amazing memories that I've had on this field. A lot of great moments."

He added: "I'm still undecided—we're all undecided about the future. Just gonna enjoy Sunday night and hopefully have some more to play for."

It's win-and-in for Rodgers and the Packers on Sunday evening thanks to a four-game win streak that has provided a once disappointing season with great hope.

This matchup may also be a huge game for the Lions, who need a win plus a Seattle Seahawks loss to the Los Angeles Rams to earn the NFC's seventh and final seed.

Rodgers has enjoyed a long and decorated NFL career that began in 2005 when the Green Bay Packers selected him No. 24 overall in the draft. He sat behind Brett Favre for three seasons before earning the starting job in 2008 after the signal-caller's retirement.

Since then, Rodgers has made 10 Pro Bowls and four All-Pro teams. He's a four-time NFL MVP who has won the award each of the last two seasons. Rodgers also led the 2010 Packers to a Super Bowl XLV title and earned a spot on the Pro Football Hall of Fame's All-Decade Team for the 2010s.

Rodgers turned 39 years old in December. Per Jason Fitzgerald of Over the Cap, he signed a three-year, $150.8 million contract with the Packers last offseason.

However, the future still remains murky for Rodgers, who seemingly appeared headed out the door in 2021. ESPN's Rob Demovsky detailed what went down after the Packers' 2020 campaign ended with the team losing to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the NFC Championship Game:

"What followed was an offseason-long boycott -- he missed workouts, organized team activities and minicamp -- during which ESPN reported that Rodgers was so disgruntled with the Packers that he told some in the organization that he would never play for them again.

"Upon his return to the team on the eve of training camp, Rodgers signed a restructured contract that eliminated the last year of his deal, for the 2023 season, making it easier for a divorce after the 2021 season."

Rodgers, who notably made it clear he wanted more input in the team's personnel decisions, ended up sticking around for 2022 despite speculation that he could leave.

However, Rodgers has options after this season. He could retire, although as Fitzgerald noted, that would mean forfeiting $59.465 million in guaranteed salary. Rodgers could also request a trade, although he doesn't have a no-trade clause. Releasing Rodgers is not an option for the Packers, as Fitzgerald wrote, because the team would incur nearly $100 million in dead money.

Or he can simply return to the team with two years left on his deal. The end to the Packers' season has been promising to say the least, and young rookie wideouts Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs offer bright hope for the future after the team traded Davante Adams to the Las Vegas Raiders.

For now, Rodgers and the Packers are looking toward their matchup with the Lions. Kickoff is Sunday at 8:20 p.m. ET.