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Friday, March 1, 2024

‘Lose My Number:’ The Winners and Losers of Aaron Rodgers Interview

  • Pat McAfee scoops NFL Insiders with an exclusive sit-down.
  • Rodgers burns ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) throws an incomplete pass during the second quarter of their game Sunday, October 2, 2022 at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis. The Green Bay Packers beat the New England Patriots 27-24 in overtime.
Syndication: Journal Sentinel

Just when it looked like Aaron Rodgers would bury the lead, his sitdown with Pat McAfee produced the biggest NFL news of the off-season.

After dawdling through the first few minutes, the Green Bay Packers quarterback used the forum of “The Pat McAfee Show” to confirm he intends to play for the New York Jets during the 2023 NFL season. 

The only holdup, warned the 39-year-old Rodgers, is his Green Bay Packers playing hardball over what compensation they’ll get back from the Jets.  

“I think since Friday, I’ve made it clear that my intention was to play, and my intention was to play for the New York Jets,” Rodgers told McAfee. “And I haven’t been holding anything up at this point, it’s been compensation that the Packers are trying to get for me, and kind of digging their heels in, so it is interesting at this point to step back and take a look at the whole picture.”

During the wide-ranging interview, the four-time NFL MVP discussed moving to the Jets, took a swipe at NFL Insider Adam Schefter, and opened up about his New Agey “Darkness Retreat” at a cave in Oregon.

Here are highlights of the Rodgers-McAfee interview:  

Winners: Pat McAfee and Aaron Rodgers. 

There’s no getting around it. The interview was a triumph for McAfee & Co. He and his crew landed the exclusive that every single media outlet from ESPN to CNN wanted to get. The live interview attracted over 430,000 viewers on YouTube, according to McAfee. 

Rodgers can be arrogant and inscrutable. But on Wednesday he came off as humble and thankful for his 18 years in Green Bay. He thanked the organization and fans. He said he’s looking forward to playing in New York – which was music to the ears of long-suffering Jets fans. There won’t be a “bad guy” in the situation.

Said Rodgers: “This is an incredible profession. But it’s a tough business. For sure.”

Winner: Trey Wingo, Caesars

The former ESPN anchor looks like a genius now after tweeting on March 13:  “Hearing Rodgers to the Jets is done. History about to repeat itself between New York and Green Bay. Time is indeed a flat circle.”

Wingo could have gotten cold feet. But he doubled down with NFL reporter Ari Meirov the next day. “The tweet I put out is going to happen,” Wingo said. “The deal has essentially been in place since last Friday. The holdup isn’t Aaron.”

Take a victory lap Trey.

Loser: ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Schefter’s ears must still be ringing after this interview. ESPN’s NFL Insider can normally get any NFL player or executive he wants on the phone. Not Rodgers.

During the off-season, Rodgers told McAfee that Schefter somehow got his phone number. When the ESPN insider reached out, Rodgers shot a text back reading: “Lose my number. Nice try.” (Schefter was a good sport about it, verifying the story on Twitter).  

Loser: Packers 

Before he entered the Darkness Retreat, Rodgers said he was 90% leaning toward retirement. When he emerged, he heard his longtime team was “shopping” him around. That’s when he decided to keep playing; albeit in New York. The bottom line, said Rodgers, is he believes the Packers were saying one thing, while doing another. All he wants is transparency, he added. But all things come to an end.

“The Packers would like to move on. They’ve let me know that in so many words,” he said. “They’ve let other people know that in direct words.”

Funniest Question: Adam “Pacman” Jones. 

The former NFL star had the question of the day. Jones, who’s been arrested in the past, couldn’t get over Rodgers voluntarily booking a four-day Darkness Retreat.

“I want to know more about this Darkness. It sounds like a f—— jail cell to me,” asked Jones.

Rodgers said the door to his cave was open – and he could leave anytime. The Darkness slowed down his thought processes. And it enabled him to “meditate” in peace.  

“The last day, I was ready to get out. I was like, ‘OK, I think I’ve thought enough.’ But I wasn’t miserable. If I had been miserable, I would have walked out.”

Story to watch: Will Rodgers Wear No. 12 in New York?

Jets legend “Broadway” Joe Namath has offered to hand over his legendary No. 12 jersey to Rodgers if he joins Gang Green. He punted on the question. But Rodgers didn’t shoot down the idea either.

“There will be time for all those conversations down the road,” he said.

Rodgers is due to make $59 million this season, according to Spotrac. He’s pulled down $305 million over his NFL career.

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