Aaron Rodgers and the Packers resolved their differences for 2021, but there isn't much certainty beyond this season.
Rodgers knows this. He also doesn't want the Derek Jeter treatment.
"I don't want a farewell tour," Rodgers said Wednesday, via ESPN. "I don't know what's going to happen after the season, but I'm going to enjoy it with the right perspective, for sure, and not look at it as I'm getting through this. I'm going to enjoy the hell out of all of it."
Rodgers and the Packers are again positioned to make a run at the NFC title, and after striking out on the doorstep of the Super Bowl in consecutive seasons, there's no better time than the present to go all in -- and for Rodgers, to live in the moment.
The quarterback said he first got a taste of what it felt like to be living his final weeks with the Packers in 2020, when he realized that even if he won the league's Most Valuable Player award and won a Super Bowl, he still wasn't looking at long-term security with the Packers. The chances of that disappeared as soon as Green Bay spent its 2020 first-round pick on Jordan Love.
Rodgers instead decided to savor the moments he had left while fully knowing he didn't know how many would be ahead.
"The reason I approached it like that is I just knew when the pick was made that the clock had started, for sure," Rodgers said. "And I thought unless there was something in the season that really made me feel like I'm going to be here past 2021 that maybe this would be my last year. I didn't want to be going into a year with some sort of ... as a lame duck, like I said. I didn't think that was fair to what I accomplished and what I mean to this team, and nothing really changed in that regard. I went into the offseason, that [it] could have been it.
"I'm glad that I enjoyed every moment, I'm glad that I led exactly the way I wanted to lead and looked for those conversations with certain guys that needed a pick-me-up at different times. I took the headphones off and enjoyed the surroundings and the road trips and the time with the guys. Yeah, it's a good template, for sure."
Rodgers knows what it's like to watch a legend spend his final seasons with the team he's known best -- or in Rodgers' case, the only team he's known. He was in Love's shoes in 2005, when the Packers spent their first-round pick on him and started the clock on Brett Favre's remaining time in Green Bay.
That divorce was uglier than Rodgers' will likely be, but he'd be incredibly naive to not see the writing on the wall. To his credit, Rodgers isn't shying away from this notion. And he's also not wasting any of the time he has left with the franchise, city and fanbase he loves.
Should the Packers finally get over the hump and possibly win a Super Bowl, we still can't say that will guarantee any portion of Rodgers' future in Green Bay. The Packers demonstrated with their succession plan from Favre to Rodgers that they'll prioritize the future, even if their hand was forced by Favre's teary-eyed retirement, and their reputation was unavoidably tarnished by Favre's decision to return to football.
This time around, it seems as if they're trying to handle it with more grace than they were afforded with Favre. But Rodgers knows it's business, and he might end up cashing checks from another club after 2021.
For now, it's all about 2021. No teary-eyed goodbyes will be allowed, because Rodgers has football games left to win. We'll handle the farewells when that time comes.