There was no moment at any point in my life until this one where I thought I’d be writing an article that amounts to “player says they like their new team.” However, the situation with the New York Jets and quarterback Aaron Rodgers is a bit unique so his words do need to be parsed more than is typical.
More specifically, the Jets paid quite a bit to get Rodgers, who by his own words was expecting to be retired and watching the games from his couch (or a dark room or maybe on a mountain or something, who knows with Aaron) this season. From what I can tell, Rodgers is basically going to play for as long as he still finds it fun to play, so the degree to which he’s enjoying his new situation is somewhat critical to examining the trade compensation the Jets paid for him. A 2nd round pick in the current draft, a (likely) 1st in the next draft, and then some for one season of a great QB is a bit of an overpay, but that same trade looks better and better for the Jets with every extra season they get out of Rodgers.
With that in mind, quotes like the one below give some reason for optimism, as it does seem like Rodgers is feeling a bit rejuvenated and perhaps happier in New York compared to the end of his time with the Green Bay Packers.
Aaron Rodgers sat down with a group of reporters today. He ended with this quote about his experience with the #Jets so far (it's a long one):— Zack Rosenblatt (@ZackBlatt) August 31, 2023
"I told a friend this has felt like waking up inside of a dream, this whole experience. A beautiful dream. So many times you have a…
As written in this tweet:
“I told a friend this has felt like waking up inside of a dream, this whole experience. A beautiful dream. So many times you have a great dream and you wake up and you think: I just want to get back into that but I can’t quite get back into the dream. I’ve woken up inside of that dream and it’s been really, really special. There’s a lot of times — I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again — where I just look around and say: This is my life now. How cool is this?
“It happens in the locker room, it happens walking out and it’s the fresh air and the sun setting. It’s just (thinking) what an awesome day it was because of whatever it was, a conversation I had with Mekhi, getting to see Billy Turner and catch up with him, a play that happened that really was fun that we talked about and wanted to happen … or we’re driving to the city and you hit that spot before you go in the tunnel and you’re looking across to the city going: How cool is my life now? I just try to keep that perspective every day here and it’s been easy because one thing has happened almost every single day that just reminds me I’m in the right place, I’m where I’m supposed to be and I’m really just loving what this opportunity has given me ...
“Everyday I’m thinking — and I won’t say it out loud — but I’ll sit back with the guys in the room, take a second sometimes and it’s: How cool is this?”
With that said, it’s easy to be a happy NFL player this time of year. At this point Rodgers hasn’t really taken many hits, so his body feels great if nothing else. Each team is also riding high on the expectation they can win any game and march straight to the Super Bowl. As the year drags on and the hits and losses mount, the joy might start to erode a bit. Hopefully for the Jets, Aaron’s Jets-related joy stays evergreen.