“To my teammates, I love you all and am thankful for the moments on and off field that brought us close.
I played with legends, I played with friends; thanks for believing in me and having my back always. ❤
This is not the end for us, I will see you again Green Bay, You’ll always have my heart. ❤
It’s official. Aaron Charles Rodgers is a New York Jet.
After a storied 18-year career in Green Bay, the National Football League’s smallest market, Rodgers was introduced this afternoon as the Jets starting quarterback in New York, the league’s largest market.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter first broke the news of the block-buster trade on Monday afternoon that ended months of speculation and drama about the future of the 10-time Pro Bowler, four-time NFL MVP, and Super Bowl XLV champion/MVP, who announced in March on the Pat McAfee Show his intention to play for the Jets this season.
Rodgers was all smiles as he met with the Jets officials and was introduced in a press conference to the New York media. Rodgers said all the right things, including setting a positive tone with the notoriously tough media of the Big Apple by calling reporters by their first name.
“A big thanks to the Green Bay Packers for an incredible run, but that chapter is over,” Rodgers said. “I’m excited about the new adventure in New York. . . I’m an old guy, so I want to be part of a team that can win it all.”
The Jets were 7-10 last season and haven’t been to the AFC playoffs since 2010—the longest drought in the league. The New York brass felt their young and talented team was just a quarterback away from being a Super Bowl contender this season and went all in to acquire Rodgers.
The expectations and scrutiny in New York will be ultra high, but Rodgers tempered the former.
“I noticed walking in here that Super Bowl III trophy is looking a little lonely. . . ,” said Rodgers, noting he wanted to be a leader who raised the level of his teammates and organization. “I’m not here to be a savior of any kind.”
A beleaguered Jets fan base may beg to differ.
It’s Super Bowl or bust in a talent-laden conference featuring defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs, along with the Buffalo Bills, Cincinnati Bengals, Los Angeles Chargers, Baltimore Ravens, and Miami Dolphins.
The teams swapped first-rounders in tomorrow night’s NFL Draft in the trade. The Packers provided Rodgers, the 15th overall pick and a 5th-rounder. Green Bay receives the 13th overall selection, a 2nd-round pick (#42) on Friday evening, and a 6th-round selection on Saturday.
A relaxed Rodgers said he was excited for his new opportunity, especially to be reunited with former coach and close friend Nathaniel Hackett, the Jets’ new offensive coordinator.
“A big reason I’m here is. . . is Nathaniel Hackett,” said Rodgers, who teamed with Hackett for three seasons in Green Bay.
Rodgers will wear No. 8 on his Jets jersey in deference to the iconic #12 worn by Joe Namath, who brashly guaranteed a victory over the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III. Namath graciously gave permission for Rodgers to wear his number, but Rodgers, who “grew up watching VHS tapes of all the Super Bowls” chose to start fresh with a new number out of respect for the New York and NFL legend.
Rodgers gave no assurances on how long he’d continue his NFL career, just that he’s now a New York Jet for the foreseeable future.
The Jordan Love era officially begins in Green Bay, and general manager Brian Gutekunst and the franchise can now move forward with the Rodgers trade completed to concentrate on the NFL draft—and armed with extra picks.
Gutekunst’s 2023 selections could well define his career in Green Bay and the future of the franchise for the next three-four years under Love. And not doubt many Packers fans—whether pro or con Rodgers—will be following the exploits of the former Green Bay quarterback in New York this season.