MVP (Again) Aaron Rodgers Not Acting Like Man Wanting Out Of Green Bay

LOS ANGELES — While we’re here wondering if the Cincinnati Bengals can double-team Aaron Donald and Cooper Kupp and Odell Beckham Jr. because, you know, Super Bowl, and while we’re also making sure to wear masks every single moment, including in 85-degree weather because, well, California … Aaron Rodgers is living it up pretty good so far this offseason.

What is supposed to be the most stressful offseason of his entire career, because he’s supposedly facing a major life choice, seems pretty darn calm right now.

On Thursday evening, Rodgers was named the NFL’s Most Valuable Player for the fourth time, leaving him only one shy of Peyton Manning’s all-time mark of five MVP awards.

During his acceptance speech, Rodgers thanked the major players in the Packers’ front office — “Mark, Brian, Russ” — meaning club president Mark Murphy, general manager Brian Gutenkunst, executive vice president of football operations Russ Ball and adding coach Matt LaFleur soon after.

Does this sound like a guy about to go to war with Green Bay Packers leadership?

The day before, Rodgers, on a golf course in Arizona, made clear how much he loves Packers fans.

Marlowe Sorensen, 84, and Sandy Bing, 79, had their Packers T-shirts on when they staked out a spot Wednesday at the TPC Scottsdale golf course in hopes of seeing Rodgers, who was playing in the 2022 Annexus Pro-Am in advance of the Waste Management Phoenix Open.

Dressed in Packers T-shirts within view of the green, the ladies claimed a spot good enough to watch Rodgers as he played.

Rodgers apparently spotted them first and went over to where they were, sat down next to them, and chatted for a while.

“He said to someone, ‘I don’t need to putt; I gotta see my ladies,'” Bing told Wisconsin.golf “He asked our names, he shook our hands.”

“He wanted to know where we were from,” Sorensen added. “I was this close to him. I could have scrubbed his little beard.”

Rodgers also had some fun at the expense of the course public address announcer, who introduced him as a 3-time MVP. He was exactly that at the time, but he held up four fingers because he apparently knew something in advance.

None of this paints a picture of an angry man wanting to unshackle himself from Green Bay. None of it.

It all seems to fall in line with what Rodgers said before the season ended: that he would speak with club management and go into the offseason to consider his options.

And atop that list of options was returning to the Packers.

Or retiring.

“I have not made any decision yet,” Rodgers said after receiving the MVP Award. “I’ll make my decision in due time, and not in a ton of time. I’ll give the team plenty of time to do what they’ve got to do … I’m not going to keep a lot of people waiting.”

Beyond that, and well down the list of options, is perhaps wanting to go elsewhere.

I suppose that third option — however distant it’s running behind the first two — is going to persist in the media until Rodgers actually delivers a definitive decision.

But the truth is, this offseason has already given him some serious circumstances to consider on this front:

If — big IF — Rodgers were to consider leaving the Packers, he’d be a fool to go to the AFC and particularly to the Denver Broncos in the AFC West.

Because right now the AFC offers weekly matchups with young, elite quarterbacks such as Patrick Mahomes, Joe Burrow, Justin Herbert, and Josh Allen.

So why would Rodgers want to go to, say, Denver and play four of his regular season games against Mahomes and Herbert? Why would he want Burrow and Allen on his schedule and in his way during the playoffs?

Why would he go that route when he can stay in Green Bay — a team that’s won 26 games the past two regular seasons — and play against Jared Goff, Justin Fields and Kirk Cousins?

There’s more: Staying in the NFC makes all the sense in the world right now for Rodgers.

Tom Brady just retired.

Sean Payton just retired.

Kyler Murray is having some social media fit about the Arizona Cardinals.

Russell Wilson may eventually manifest his true feelings about continuing with the Seattle Seahawks (story for another day).

The Packers, meanwhile, laid out a vision to Rodgers at season’s end they believe will keep them not only competitive but challenging for championships through 2022, according to a league source.

So is Rodgers going to reward this approach and desire to keep him by forcing a trade?

He sure doesn’t seem like that guy lately.

Follow on Twitter: @armandosalguero

(Photo: NFL)

Written by Armando Salguero

Armando Salguero has covered the NFL since 1990 for the Palm Beach Post, Miami Herald and ESPN. He was a 2016 Associated Press Sports Editors Top 10 columnist. He is a Pro Football Hall of Fame selector and AP All-Pro team voter.

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