Aaron Rodgers draws spotlight after hinting at leaving Packers, ‘fake White House’ comments

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(Video Credit: CBS Sports HQ)

Green Bay Packers star quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who slammed Biden for saying he should get vaccinated, seemed to hint at leaving the team after a shocking 13-10 loss to the 49ers on Saturday, commenting, “A little numb, for sure. I didn’t think it was gonna end like this.”

Rodgers plans to take some time to engage in conversations with “people around here” and then make a decision about his future. He just finished his 17th season with the Packers.

“I’m going to take some time and have conversations with the folks around here and then take some time away and make a decision – obviously before free agency,” Rodgers remarked on Saturday to reporters.

“But it’s fresh right now. It’s a little shocking for sure. Definitely was hoping to have a nice week after the NFC Championship to enjoy the lead-up and then start contemplating some things. I haven’t even let the moment really sink in yet,” he said appearing to be stunned after the game.

“I think this thing, it’s definitely going to look different moving forward in Green Bay,” Rodgers commented. “There’s a lot of decisions, a lot of guys with opportunities, so it’ll be interesting to see what things look like moving forward. But I’m thankful for this time, this team. Super disappointed, bummed out, frustrated with how I played tonight, frustrated with how it ended, but still deeply grateful for this season and these guys.”

Rodgers is even questioning at this point if a Super Bowl is possible with the Packers.

“There are a lot of decisions to be made and key players, a lot of guys who played tonight,” he continued. “Obviously Davante is the best receiver in the league, and he’s a free agent, knowing they can obviously tag him. Allen Lazard, Robert Tonyan, so many guys’ contracts are up or on the brink or salary cap stuff, so a lot of decisions to be made. I don’t want to be part of a rebuild if I’m going to keep playing, so a lot of decisions in the next couple months.”

Packers head coach Matt LaFleur insisted after the game that they “certainly” want Rodgers to return next season.

“I think we’d be crazy not to want him back here. He’s going to be the two-time MVP,” LaFleur said according to ESPN. “This guy does so much for our football team, not only what you guys see on Sundays or every game day, but what he does in that locker room, how he leads. I know what he puts into this thing, and certainly, I’m extremely disappointed in that we couldn’t get over the hump for not only him but for everybody in that locker room.”

The quarterback’s candid remarks follow an ESPN profile that came out on Friday. In it, he addressed President Biden calling COVID the “pandemic of the unvaccinated.”

“When the President of the United States says, ‘This is a pandemic of the unvaccinated,’ it’s because him and his constituents, – which I don’t know how there are any if you watch any of his attempts at public speaking — but I guess he got 81 million votes,” Rodgers commented to ESPN.

“But when you say stuff like that, and then you have the CDC, which — how do you even trust them? — but then they come out and talk about 75 percent of the COVID deaths have at least four comorbidities. And you still have this fake White House set saying that this is the pandemic of the unvaccinated, that’s not helping the conversation,” he contended.

Fact-checkers have addressed a partial quote from Rochelle Walensky, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), suggesting  that 75% of COVID-19 deaths were in people with at least four comorbidities, noting that she was referring to vaccinated people only,

Biden made the swipe at Rodgers back in December as he was touring Kentucky’s tornado damage. He was caught telling a Green Bay Packers fan, “Tell your quarterback he’s got to get the vaccine.”

The incident occurred a month after Rodgers admitted he was not vaccinated even though in August he told reporters he was “immunized.” He tested positive for COVID in November.

“I had a plan going in for that question to be asked,” Rodgers told ESPN. “It was a pseudo witch hunt going on — who was vaccinated, who wasn’t vaccinated. I was in a multi-month conversation that turned into an appeal process with the NFL at that time, and my appeal hinged on that exact statement [immunized]. So what I said was number one, factually true. I went through a multi-immunization process. And at the end of that, I don’t know what you would call it, I would call it immunized.”

Critics proceeded to accuse the player of lying and trying to hide his vaccination status.

To retain Rodgers, the Packers would need to sign him to a long-term extension of his contract. His cap charge in 2022 is $46 million.

Editor’s Note: This post has been updated to include a note about fact-checkers clarifying CDC Director Rochelle Walensky’s quote about COVID-19 deaths, which was referred to in a direct quote by Rodgers.

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