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Packers' Aaron Rodgers finishes retreat, addresses future: 'I don't want to drag anybody around'

The time is nearing for Aaron Rodgers to enlighten those around him on his football future.

Rodgers spoke publicly for the first time since completing his darkness retreat, and although Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst said Tuesday at the NFL Scouting Combine that he's still unsure of his quarterback's 2023 plans, the four-time AP Most Valuable Player realizes the benefit of making a decision sooner rather than later.

"For everybody involved directly and indirectly, it's best for a decision earlier," Rodgers said on the Aubrey Marcus Podcast. "I feel really good about the conversations that are gonna be had, that have been had, with the important people in my life that help to orient me. But I'm not looking for somebody to tell me what the answer is. All the answers are right inside me, and I touched many of them -- and definitely the feelings -- on both sides during the darkness. I'm thankful for that time.

"There's a finality to the decision. I don't make it lightly. I don't want to drag anybody around. Look, I'm answering questions about it because I got asked about it. I'm talking about it because it's important to me. If you don't like it and you think it's drama, you think I'm being a diva or whatever, then just tune it out. That's fine. But this is my life. It's important to me, and I'll make a decision soon enough and we'll go down that road and be really excited about it."

Following a year in which Rodgers missed the playoffs for the first time since 2018 while posting his lowest-ever passing yardage (3,695) in a full season and second-most interceptions (12), he's been taking the necessary time to contemplate where he sees himself moving forward.

If that turns out to be back in Green Bay, the Packers will run things back with Rodgers as the Week 1 starter for a 16th straight year, seeking a return to form as his surrounding cast of skill players continues developing.

If Rodgers prefers a trade to another contending team or to seek growth away from football, the Packers will move forward with Jordan Love, who's also on the clock with a May 1 deadline for the club to exercise his fifth-year option.

All options are on the table, and it's allowed rumors to swirl around Rodgers since the clock struck midnight on his season.

"I just needed to get the opportunity to reset," Rodgers said. "As it got closer and closer, obviously there was a lot of other questions about my future that have been on the mind and have been contemplated. I knew it would be a good opportunity to kind of sit with those things. But that wasn't the main reason I was doing it. It was, how often do we unplug? How often do we even set our phones down for a little bit, read a book instead of watch TV, you know? Meditate instead of listen to music. Whatever it might be that allows us to kind of disconnect from technology and the world and give ourselves the gift of rest.

"I spent parts of a couple of the days imagining what it would be like to retire, and then imagining what it would be like to continue to play."

Many around the league have also spent the past weeks envisioning what it might look like to add the QB to their team in the twilight of his career. We'll have those answers soon.

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