After darkness comes the light, or so the saying goes, and Aaron Rodgers appears quite intent on finding this out before making any decisions on his playing career.
Appearing on The Pat McAfee Show on Tuesday, Rodgers indicated that prior to determining his path for the 2023 NFL season, he’ll be going on a “darkness retreat” that includes “four nights of complete darkness,” he said.
Rodgers gave no indication of his football plans on the show and said everything — retiring, playing for the Green Bay Packers, playing elsewhere — remains on the table. First, before making a decision on that, he’ll be alone with his thoughts in a dark room in an unnamed location, and it apparently will occur soon.
“Yeah, it’s a real thing, 100%,” Rodgers said whether retirement was still an option. “That’s why I think it’s going to be important to get through this week and then, you know, to take my isolation retreat. Just to be able to contemplate all things (about) my future and then make a decision that I feel like is best for me moving forward in the highest interest in my happiness.”
He added: “It’s just kind of sitting in silence, which most of us never do. We rarely even turn our phone off or put the blinds down to sleep in darkness. I’m really looking forward to it.”
McAfee pressed Rodgers for more info on this “darkness retreat” business. Will he be in a cave? Will he be completely alone? Will food be served? Is Rodgers coming on the show next week?
Rodgers didn’t clear all of that up, but did indicate that he’ll be in a single-room “little house” with blacked-out windows, two slots where food is dropped in and no other human contact. Other than that, nothing — no books, tablets or fidget spinners to be had. Just four days for a $30 million weapon to ponder the next phase of his playing career.
Also, Rodgers said he could bail after a night or two if it gets too boring, which is a nice option to have available.
“You’re not locked in,” Rodgers said. “No, you can leave. If you can’t do it, you can just walk out the door.”
But by the sound of it, the 39-year-old quarterback is very much looking forward to the experience and plans on sticking it out.
“I’ve had a number of friends who have done it and had some profound experiences,” he said. “It’s something that’s been on my radar for a few years now, and I felt like it would be awesome to do regardless of where I was leaning after this season. So, it’s been on the calendar for months and months and months, and it’s coming up in a couple weeks.”
Of course, some of this hoodoo voodoo isn’t new to Rodgers. This is a man who openly spoke of his experimentation with ayahuasca ceremonies a few years back during a three-day trip to Peru. About one year ago — when his future in Green Bay was still a topic — Rodgers told McAfee of his 12-day Panchakarma cleanse, which includes induced vomiting and forced diarrhea as a way of flushing his system.
Last week was a bit more mainstream for Rodgers, as he won the amateur title for the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, partnered with PGA golfer Ben Silverman. Throughout the tournament, fans chanted his name as a way of trying to recruit Rodgers to their favorite team, with several throaty Las Vegas Raiders and New York Jets fans easily heard from the broadcast.
Asked what he thought of that treatment, Rodgers quickly corrected his cheering section: “I’m not a free agent,” he said to McAfee, “I’m under contract with the Packers.”
The only news Rodgers dropped about his future at the tournament was that he wouldn’t be “going to San Fran,” which perhaps was a subtle jab at 49ers fans who have jeered him at the tournament in years past.
“This year was a lot more positive, I think,” he said. “The sentiment was very positive, people wanting me to get traded to their team, and the Raiders fans were probably the most vocal and the most numerous.”
Pretty soon, though, their voices — and all others except for Rodgers’ — will be washed out in deafening silence. He’ll be in total isolation, mulling his next move between his twice-daily feedings. Will Rodgers return to Green Bay for a 19th season? Or will he ask for a trade elsewhere for the final stages of his career?
That decision could be made in his isolation chamber. Fans wanting to know his future will just have to wait until that is over.
“I’ve got a pretty cool opportunity to do a little self-reflection in some isolation,” Rodgers said. “And then after that I feel like I’ll be a lot closer to a final, final decision.”
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