As he continues to work his way back for a potential (but likely fruitless) attempt to return to game action in 2023, Aaron Rodgers needs to pause his rehab efforts for a piece of cake.
Rodgers turns 40 today.
For anyone, it’s a significant life moment. Youth is over. Middle age has arrived. Changes are coming. The slow, inevitable decline to old age and whatever comes beyond it begins. (They say it’s better than the alternative. It recently occurred to me that no one truly knows the alternative.)
Regardless, his football life is going to be ending, sooner than later. Tom Brady is the outlier who made it to 45. Rodgers has never said he wants to.
Presumably, he’ll play in 2024. Maybe the Week 1 injury in 2023 will make him want to return in 2025, too.
He has yet to say with 100-percent clarity that he’ll be back next year with the Jets. Instead of talking about playing in 2023, he should be saying he’ll play in 2024. That would help calm things down around the embattled Jets program, making it easier for the Jets to justify the apparent plan to make no major changes and try to do next year what they weren’t able to do this year.
If, however, Rodgers says he’s definitely returning for next year, he loses some of the leverage that comes from his annual will-I-or-won’t-I? routine. Even if he’s not looking to parlay his decision to return into something in return for him (such as a commitment to sign one or more of his buddies), Rodgers has turned his offseason deliberations in recent years into a cottage industry.
Rodgers gets seven figures annually for his weekly segments on Pat McAfee’s show. Rodgers’s appearance in March 2023, when he announced his decision to leave the Packers, generated massive numbers for the program. Why wouldn’t Rodgers string it out again, if only to provide a boost to a side hustle that pays him more than what more than 99 percent of Americans make in their primary jobs?
To summarize, we know Rodgers is 40 as of today. We’ll find out — probably on a Tuesday in March — whether he’ll be on the Jets’ roster a year from now, when he turns 41.