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Aaron Rodgers' Desire "to Be Great" Fuels His Drive to Greatness

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Aaron Rodgers' Desire "to Be Great" Fuels His Drive to Greatness

-- Few teams -- if any -- in the history of the National Football League have been blessed with such an illustrious stretch of stellar quarterback play for over two decades.

If the Green Bay Packers are lucky, they'll surpass three.

That's how their quarterback, Aaron Rodgers, wants it done. All he has to do is continue playing at a level that provides all the reason necessary to keep him in town.

It's safe to say that up to this point, he's exceeded that level tenfold. The likelihood that he breaks new ground in 2018 and beyond isn't out of the question for a quarterback whose abilities have dubbed him as a generational talent.

It's "greatness" that Rodgers is after, as are 31 other starting quarterbacks. However, sustaining it, in Rodgers' mind, is his primary objective.

"To be the best and to be able to choose when I'm done playing," Rodgers said Friday at the Wisconsin High School Sports Awards in Lambeau Field's atrium.

"As you've seen here recently with Jordy [Nelson]. But even you go back a few years, whether it's Julius Peppers or A.J. Hawk or John Kuhn or Brett Favre -- the fairytale ending of starting a career and ending it with the same organization rarely happens."

Since becoming the Packers' starting quarterback in 2008, Rodgers has helped lead the team to eight-straight playoff appearances, five NFC North crowns and a Super Bowl title in 2010. All while achieving a statistical plateau unforeseen by any quarterback before him.

He wants to continue his astounding level of play with the team who drafted in with their No. 24 overall pick in 2005. In other words, Rodgers doesn't intend -- or desire -- to jump ship. Loyalty to one franchise and commitment is something Rodgers holds in high regard.

"That's kind of my goal. To be indispensable to this organization into my 40s to where you've got to keep me around."

Rodgers said in July prior to the 2016 season that he aspires to end his career in similar fashion to players in their respective sports such as Kobe Bryant, Derek Jeter and Tim Duncan.

"Their legacy, I think, gets made in those later years, when they've really proven to win championships and be at the top of their game: Derek to be one of the best shortstops of all time, one of the best Yankees of all time; Kobe, one of the best players, best Lakers of all time; and Tim, one of the best power forwards of all time.

"But later in their career, they stay with the same team, they stick it out. ... I think there's a lot to be said about finishing your legacy off the right way with one team and it'd be nice to be able to do that."

The Packers have been negotiating a long-term restructured deal with Rodgers this offseason to keep his annual pay up to par with other quarterbacks around the league. Others such as the Lions' Matthew Stafford, the Raiders' Derek Carr, the Vikings' Kirk Cousins and the Falcons' Matt Ryan. 

As it stands right now, Rodgers is the 10th highest-paid quarterback in the league and is set to earn a base salary of $20.5 million in 2018.

Rodgers' new contract should net him the largest contract in league history with the most guaranteed money upon signing. It should also keep him in Green Bay on a multi-year basis, essentially eliminating any notion that he would play anywhere else in the near future.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (19) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Ryan Graham's picture

I mean, what's more to say...Rodgers said it all. When it's all said and done he will be among if not THE best of all time statistically and may e in other categories if all goes right with Gutekunst, McCarthy and Pettine...and as a Packers fan I hope he does it in Green and Gold.

Lphill's picture

Had the Packers with Favre and Rodgers done more to add playmakers maybe they would have more than 2 rings , that's something a lot of us will remember in years to come.

flackcatcher's picture

Ron Wolf's biggest mistake, as he put it, is not adding better WR either by the draft or trade for Favre. The Seahawk NFL champ game in 2014 still haunts this team to this day, I don't think McCarthy will ever be able to erase his inability to mange his team on the field for the last 8:00 of the fourth. That kind of choke job is hard to forget, or forgive.

Spock's picture

GREAT answer from Aaron and I believe (despite other's who question what he says) that he is sincere. I know he has stated on numerous occasions that he cares about his LEGACY at Green Bay and wants to be remembered both on and off the field for what he does. Here's hoping he adds to that legacy with some more SB's !!! Go Pack Go!

Lare's picture

I'd agree that Rodgers seems pretty sincere in his desire to stay on and finish his career in Green Bay.

The problem most veteran sports players have is knowing when it's time to retire. They've been idolized and been given differential treatment their entire lives due to their athletic abilities. It's tough to consider giving that up and living a somewhat normal life.

Hopefully Aaron can go out on his own terms, and not have the decision made for him due his salary, performance or injury.

Since '61's picture

Coaches coach, players play and Rodgers plays better than everyone else! Case closed. Thanks, Since '61

4thand1's picture

We are so dam lucky, we could see 5 to 7 more great years. The next 3 should be MVP catagory, hopefully with another SB.

flackcatcher's picture

Nice overview Zach.

Oppy's picture

Three decades with great QB play if people would stop ignoring the fact that Lynn Dickie was a GREAT QB.

Spock's picture

Oppy, Agree about Lynn Dickey, he threw the long bar better than any QB I've ever seen! 'Everyone' talks about Arod not having a defense; imagine if Dickey had had one!!!

Since '61's picture

Oppy - I enjoyed watching Lynn Dickey play QB for the Packers. He was by far our best QB following the Bart Starr era and the pre-Favre/Rodgers era.

He was a good to very good QB but I'm not so sure about great relative to Favre or Rodgers. Dickey had a very strong arm but he did not have an extraordinary are like Favre or a great arm like Rodgers. Also Dickey was never as accurate as Favre or Rodgers. He was not very mobile either and did not throw well on the run. He played well but not brilliantly. The Packers never won double digit games during a season while he was there. However, he and Lofton hooked up for many great plays and it was fun to watch.

I would like to see Dickey play with the current rules which support the passing game much more than when he played. With the current rules Dickey could be a top tier QB in this era but I see him as more of a 2nd/3rd tier guy. Either way he was the best we had between 1970 and 1992. Thanks, Since '61

Finwiz's picture

I agree completely with your assessment of Dickey. I saw every game he ever played for the Packers. He couldn't move at all due to the major leg injury he suffered in Houston.

He wasn't even close to a Favre or Rodgers. He was a very good quarterback having lived through the prior years of Jerry Tagge, Scott Hunter and Jim Del Gaizo. It was an improvement, but not pro bowl level and certainly not 12 or 4 level.

Since '61's picture

Fin - I agree. I still can't believe Jim Del Gaizo actually played QB for the Packers. That was a nightmare. Thanks, Since '61

Oppy's picture

Still holds the single-season league record for average yards per attempt. Held the Packers record for most yards passing in a single game until rodgers (and flynn) surpassed it a handful of years ago. Also the Packers all-time single season passing yards record until Rodgers also eclipsed that.

I would contend that Dickey was definitely a pro-bowl level QB surrounded by an overall poor team.

Since '61's picture

Dickey was named to the All- NFC second team in 1983 behind Joe Theisman, which was Dickey's only selection to an all-pro team. He also led the league in TD passes in 1983. He had some fine seasons with the Packers but he never reached the elite levels of Favre or Rodgers who are HOFers and all-time great QBs. Rodgers will probably retire as the GOAT.

As I posted earlier it would be fun to watch him play in this era with current rules favoring the passing game. Thanks, Since '61

croatpackfan's picture

Pay the Man!

packrulz's picture

I've always thought Aaron Rogers should win about 3 Super Bowls if you surround him with enough talent.

olwig420's picture

His desire to be the highest paid player is obviously greater.

Handsback's picture

Rodgers is a great QB, there are however 31 other teams that also want to win the SB. Green Bay has managed 1 SB with Rodgers. To many that should be at least 2 and maybe 3. I take a different view...Green Bay was lucky to even get into that SB against the Steelers and won because of their defense (with two DPOY canidates) and a few outstanding games by Rodgers.
The Packers have tried to capture lightning-in-a-bottle quite a few times and really 2014 should have been that year. Unfortunatly, Rodgers was hurt and while the defense was good enough to win the offense wasn't the same at the end of the season.
Going forward, Green Bay may have the structure in place to make a run for a couple more SBs. Good enough defense, Rodgers still healty, and solid ST play, and last but not least is the coaching. Pettine and Philbin will be the last links to that chain that could pull the Packers into the victory circle.
I always want to envision the Packers lifting up the Lombardi trophy......that's why I'm a fan. Within the next three years we could actually see it as a reality.

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