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Aaron Rodgers and Brett Favre have been intertwined and compared ever since the four-time MVP was drafted in the first round of the 2005 NFL Draft to succeed the iconic Green Bay Packers quarterback. Now, it appears Rodgers will do the unthinkable and follow in Favre’s footsteps from Green Bay to the New York Jets – and he is even sounding similar to the Super Bowl XXXI champion.
On Wednesday, Rodgers appeared on the Pat McAfee Show to confirm his intention is to play for the AFC East franchise in the upcoming 2023 season. The 39-year-old has flirted with the idea of retirement, but he has decided to move to the Jets once a trade is finalised with the Packers.
Remarkably, Rodgers and the Jets are walking down a well trodden path with a Hall of Fame quarterback from the Packers in Favre. Fifteen years ago, Favre was traded to the Jets – and the echoes of similarity as to what is unfolding in 2023 are striking.
Following years of speculation surrounding his future, Favre announced his original retirement from the NFL in March 2008 amid reported pressure from the Packers, who were ready to move forwards with Rodgers. It is equivalent to Rodgers emerging from his darkness retreat to hear whispers that Green Bay wanted him out of the building so they could progress with 2020 first-round selection Jordan Love.
“I know I can play, but I don’t think I want to,” Favre said at his retirement press conference. “It’s been a great career for me, but it’s over. As they say, all good things must come to an end. I look forward to whatever the future may hold for me.”
Again, this is similar to Rodgers suggesting he was ’90 percent’ leaning towards retirement when he entered the darkness, only to emerge wanting to play again. Predictably, Favre decided he wanted to continue and informed the Packers of his decision – only to be told by head coach Mike McCarthy that was not an option with the team in June 2008.
In August 2008, Favre is linked with a move to the Jets. General manager Mike Tannenbaum and head coach Eric Mangini pitch the idea to Favre, and he is eventually traded to the green half of New York for a conditional fourth-round pick which could improve if he leads the Jets to the Super Bowl. After the trade, Favre said: “All I can say is I’ve always wanted to be a Packer; I think I always will be a Packer.
“I’m not a traitor. Never will be. It’s business; that’s the way it works.”
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Fast forward to 2023, and on Wednesday, Rodgers told McAfee: “From my side all the love, appreciation and gratitude for everything Green Bay has done for me. 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.
“And because I still have that fire and I want to play, I’d like to play in New York, it’s just a matter of getting that done at this point.”
He added: “I got to the be the starting quarterback of the Packers for 15 years. So, I love you, Green Bay. Thank you. I’m as sad as some of you are, but we’ll meet again.”
Favre led the Jets to an 8-3 record before he suffered a biceps tendon injury, and Gang Green collapsed to miss the playoffs as he threw a pair of touchdowns to eight interceptions in the final six games. It will be intriguing to see how Rodgers fares in New York if he indeed joins the Jets; he will undoubtedly want to lead the team to the postseason and do what Favre simply couldn’t.
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