Tom Brady‘s ruby jubilee has everyone in football reevaluating his mortality, professional and otherwise.
That includes fellow future Hall of Fame quarterback Aaron Rodgers. The Packers gunslinger, approaching 34 years old this season, knows that not only does he want to playing professional football by the time he turns 40, he knows where he wants to play it.
“Hopefully right here,” Rodgers told reporters Thursday, per ESPN.com. “Hopefully talking to you guys right here.
“I do think it’s realistic. I hope it’s in this locker room, though. That would mean it’s been at a high level. Like I said, hopefully Dec. 2 of 2024, help me out, 2023. Thank you.”
Rodgers isn’t new to the idea of aging quarterbacks sticking around northeast Wisconsin past their expiration date. Rodgers, of course, backed up Brett Favre for three long years from 2005 through 2007 as the graying veteran waffled annually between returning and retirement. Favre finally left the organization at 38 years old, pushed out of Green Bay by the ascending Rodgers and Father Time, before playing three seasons for the Jets and Vikings and retiring a hobbled shadow of himself at age 41.
Favre’s uncomfortable exodus should be a cautionary tale for a franchise player like Rodgers, but the Packers quarterback still wants to extend his career as long as possible, citing greats from across the sporting landscape as examples.
“It’s being a sports fan and watching some of my favorite all-time players either not finish in the place they started or the place where you fell in love watching them play — or they did,” Rodgers added. “And seeing how different the memory is of those players as a fan, and seeing some of my favorite players growing finishing up now or have finished up in the last two or three years — the Derek Jeters, the Kobe Bryants, the Tim Duncans — doing it their entire career in one place, that makes things pretty special.
“So again, I’m a realist as well. I have to play well, the team has to want to bring me back, but I’ve said I’d like to finish things here where we started.”
By the time, Rodgers’ deal with the Packers expires following the 2019 season, he will be 36 years old. Having only gotten better with age, it’s more than likely that Rodgers will still be churning out peak-performance seasons at that time and will earn himself another deal with Green Bay before his current contract ends.
Whether Rodgers can prove that he, like Brady, is an exception, not the rule, and play at a high level into his 40s will be something to watch over the next half-decade. (For what it’s worth, recently retired quarterback Tony Romo says Rodgers could even play until he’s 45.)
At least we know that if, come 2023, Rodgers is still out there, rolling to his left and tossing darts to crossing receivers, he’ll be doing it in green and gold.