Quarterback Aaron Rodgers said in a broadcast interview Wednesday that he intends to continue his NFL career with the New York Jets after 18 seasons with the Green Bay Packers.
The four-time league MVP said on "The Pat McAfee Show" that the Packers plan to move on from him as their quarterback. According to Rodgers, the Packers' trade demands are holding up a prospective deal that would send him to 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 said. "And I haven't been holding anything up at this point. It's been the compensation that the Packers are trying to get for me and kind of digging their heels in... . It is what it is. The Packers would like to move on. They've let me know that in so many words. They've let other people know that in direct words."
Rodgers met with Jets officials, including team owner Woody Johnson and Coach Robert Saleh, last week in California.
"I'm not offended by any of this," Rodgers said. "I'm not a victim by any of this. I don't have that mentality. I have nothing but love and appreciation... . Coming to this reality has been really bittersweet because I was drafted by Green Bay. I ... love that city. I love that organization and [am] always going to have love for that organization. But the facts are right now they want to move on. And now so do I."
The NFL's free agent market officially opened Wednesday afternoon. Trades now can be official.
"I still have that fire and I want to play," Rodger said. "And I would like to play in New York. It's just a matter of getting that done at this point."
Rodgers said in Wednesday's appearance on McAfee's show that he was 90 percent certain before going on a recent darkness retreat that he would retire, then emerged to find out that his situation with the Packers had changed.
"Everything that I was told in the week that I was in Green Bay [following last season] was, 'Take as long as you want. You know, we want you to retire a Packer. [If] you want to come back and play, obviously the door's wide open,'" Rodgers said. "So that's the information that I was going on. Now, when I came out of the darkness, something changed."
Packers team president Mark Murphy told Green Bay's WBAY-TV on Friday that Rodgers "had a great career here." Murphy said in another broadcast interview the same day that Rodgers would remain with the Packers "if things don't work out the way we would want them." Packers General Manager Brian Gutekunst said at the NFL combine in Indianapolis that young quarterback Jordan Love, the 2020 first-round draft choice who has been Rodgers's backup for three seasons, "needs to play."
Rodgers said Wednesday that Love "is going to be a great player." Rodgers, similarly, got his chance to be the Green Bay starter when the team traded Brett Favre to the Jets in 2008.
"I'm debatably the best player in franchise history," Rodgers said. "I'm in the conversation for sure. What's not debatable is I'm the longest-tenured Packer in history... . Nobody has bled green and gold like me. I mean, I love that city. I love those fans. I love that region. And I've never been a free agent... . It was never about that.
"Now it's about the reality of the situation. And I think there's probably people who are really wanting to move on. And I get it. I'm not upset about it. I have nothing but love in my heart for every Packer fan and everybody that works in the organization. My life is better because of my time in Green Bay. But we've just got to look at the reality. They want to move on. They don't want me to come back. And that's fine."
Free agent wide receiver Allen Lazard, formerly with the Packers, has agreed to a contract with the Jets. But Rodgers disputed characterizations that he'd made demands for the Jets to sign a list of players chosen by him.
"That's not the reality," Rodgers said. "It's so ridiculous... . Now, did they ask me about certain guys that I've played with over the years? Of course. Did I talk glowingly about teammates that I love? Yeah, why wouldn't you? ... Do I love those guys on the list? ... I don't have demands. My only demand is for transparency."