Aaron Rodgers might be sticking around with the New York Jets a bit longer than many first thought.
The 39-year-old quarterback has not committed to playing football beyond this season, but he has strongly hinted several times his first year with the Jets won’t be his last.
Rodgers reiterated that sentiment Friday during an appearance on the “DiPietro & Rothenberg” show on ESPN Radio in New York.
“The Jets gave up a lot for me, so to play just one year, I think, would be a disservice,” Rodgers said. “Now if that one year turns out to be a magical year, who knows? It’s more than that, it’s how my body feels.”
In other words, a run to the Super Bowl could change all that.
But short of that, the Jets expect Rodgers to be under center next season — and perhaps beyond.
“I would be shocked if he didn’t play multiple years,” coach Robert Saleh said. “I mean, he looks like a little kid out there.”
Rodgers said in the radio interview a tweaked diet and training regiment has his body feeling “really, really good” at this point in the year.
“Talk to me in three or four months, we’ll see how it feels,” he said. “But the way I feel now, I think I could play a number of years.”
Rodgers was acquired by New York from Green Bay in April, bringing the four-time NFL MVP to a franchise that hasn’t made the playoffs in 12 years — the longest active drought in the league. During his introductory news conference, he talked about how “lonely” the Jets’ Super Bowl trophy from 1969 looks and the goal is to add another to a team starving to be a winner.
After his first training camp practice with the Jets on Thursday, Rodgers raved about the young talent the team has and how it has energized him in his 19th NFL season.
“You’ve got a good window,” he added. “It’s not just a one-year thing where you can be competitive, which is fun.”
The Jets went all in on bringing Rodgers aboard, sending a first-, second- and sixth-round pick in this year’s draft to the Packers, along with a conditional second-rounder next year that could become a first-rounder if the quarterback plays at least 65% of the snaps — which New York hopes will be the case. Green Bay gave up first and fifth-round picks this year, along with Rodgers.
Rodgers, who turns 40 in December, contemplated retirement during the offseason before going into a darkness retreat over the winter to clear his mind and decide what he wanted for his future. He determined he wanted to continue playing football — and intended to do so with the Jets.
That sent the wheels in motion for the trade, which took several weeks of negotiations between the sides before it was completed.
Saleh said Rodgers hasn’t told the team what his plans are beyond this season, but the Jets also aren’t pushing him to do so.
“I don’t want to back him into a corner and make him commit to something like that,” Saleh said. “I just want him to have fun and know that when he walks in this building to let loose and have a little bit of fun, B.S. with the guys, come in the office, come talk to us and just enjoy playing football.
“Odds are, if you enjoy playing football, you’re going to want to keep doing it.”
On Thursday, Rodgers spoke about being more patient now at this point in his career with the process, not getting agitated if things aren’t working early in training camp and focusing on getting better as the summer goes along to build for the season.
Aaron Rodgers feeling ‘less triggered’ as he enters training camp with Jets
He also noted the differences between playing in New York and Green Bay, including the increased media attention and additional hype with “Hard Knocks” featuring the Jets this year.
“Yeah, it’s spectacular,” Rodgers said. “I mean, that’s what you want. You want to be a part of a place that has high expectations. And there’s a lot of positivity around here, which I think is a good thing.”
Reporting by The Associated Press.
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