Aaron Rodgers Introductory Press Conference, 4.26

[please click photo for link to the video]



Opening Statements

Chairman Robert Wood Johnson:

Good afternoon, everybody, how are you all doing? This is a happy day for my brother and I, for the organization here, and especially for the Jets fans all over. The fact that we’re here today is really a testament to what the Coach and the General Manager and the staff has built over the last two years. The culture that enabled us to attract somebody of the caliber that we’re looking at right now, Aaron Rodgers, future Hall of Famer. Aaron is a tremendous player, that’s an understatement. He makes everybody around him better. We’re so happy to have him. We are delighted and happy, we couldn’t be happier to have him as a New York Jet. I think we should have a round of applause right there. Welcome to New York, Aaron. We’re glad to have you.


Aaron Rodgers:

I want to say thank you to Christopher (Johnson) and Woody (Chairman Robert Wood Johnson) for bringing me here. Obviously, Coach (Robert) Saleh, Joe Douglas, my agent, Dave Dunn. This is a surreal day for me, after spending 18 years in the same city. There’s been a lot of introductions today and meeting a lot of people, but there’s a lot of excitement. I’m here because I believe in this team, I believe in Coach Saleh, I believe in the direction of Joe Douglas. Obviously, he’s drafted really well the last couple of years having the Offensive and Defensive Rookie of the Year. A big thanks to the Jets organization. Obviously, a big thanks to the Green Bay Packers organization for an incredible run. That chapter is over now, and I’m excited about the new adventure here in New York. So, I’ll open it up to questions now.


Tina Cervasio, WNYW: So, you mentioned the draft just now and you believe in the direction that Joe Douglas is taking the team, but what really attracted you to make you start thinking that the New York Jets would be the next team you would play for?

Well, they smoked us last year. So, I knew they had a good team. We got to practice against them a couple years ago and I got to know Robert a little bit more and I’ve always loved what he’s all about. We played him in San Fran (San Francisco) a few times and, mostly, they got the best of us, but I liked the way he was leading, his coaching style. A big reason I’m here, I have to mention him, is Nathaniel Hackett who is here. Hackett and I became really close friends for three years in Green Bay and I love him like a brother. I believe in him. I’m really happy to be back working with him again. Obviously, Joe has a great track record so far of drafting some incredible players, but it takes a system and obviously Robert has the right sauce, so I’m excited about getting to work with him and Brick (Jeff Ulbrich), and Marquand (Manuel), a former teammate of mine. It’s a great staff. I’m an old guy, so I want to be part of a team that can win it all. I believe that this is a place we can get that done.


Rich Cimini, ESPN.com: It’s been about six weeks since you said on (Pat) McAfee that you wanted to play for the Jets, so I’m just curious what was it like, this process lasted a pretty long time, longer than people expected, what was it like for you waiting the six weeks? Was there any point where you thought maybe that this trade would not happen? When did you know for sure that you were going to be a Jet?

Not really, I believed it was going to happen the entire time. It was just a matter of waiting each other out. My intention coming out of the darkness was to pursue this opportunity, and I enjoyed the meeting when Woody and Christopher came out, these two guys (Robert Saleh and Joe Douglas), Hack (Nathaniel Hackett), Hymie (Elhai). I just got a great feel with all those guys about the possibility. As I leaned into it, getting back into some more strenuous workouts, I just really believed that this was where I was supposed to be. A lot of things had to come together, and I believed there was some major synchronization to make this happen, but I’m excited about the opportunity here, I always believed this was possible. Things moved pretty quickly on Monday and thankfully, I’m here now.


Bruce Beck, WNBC: How driven are you to win for this fanbase which hasn’t been to the playoffs since 2010, the longest stretch in professional sports for the four different leagues right now?

It’s exciting. The Jets have an incredible, passionate fanbase. I saw that last year at Lambeau (Field). Obviously, I know about Fireman Ed and his passion for the team. I think that’s an exciting draw to this as well, it’s being a part of being something special. I grew up watching old VHS tapes of the Super Bowls and so, obviously, I know about ‘the guarantee’ and Broadway Joe (Joe Namath). It’s been a while since then. I noticed walking in this morning that the Super Bowl III trophy is looking a little lonely.


Brian Costello, New York Post: In your view, is this you’re here for 2023 and then we’ll see what happens? Or, do you view this as more than a one year thing right now?

Right now, I’m just going to focus on this season. I’m excited about being here, expect to be here for the duration of the offseason. I’m excited to get to know my new teammates and the coaching staff and the organization. Obviously, I have a background with Coach Hackett and that offense, but I’m excited about just diving in and being a part of this group and getting to know some of the names of my teammates. Also, I’m excited about working with all you guys, I’ve heard a lot about the New York media. I’m excited to see what that’s all about.


Matt Schneidman, The Athletic: You obviously said with Pat and AJ (Hawk) that you would’ve liked more direct communication about moving on from you. Then Brian (Gutekunst) comes out and says, “We tried to, he just didn’t respond.” What actually happened this offseason between the two sides that led us to where we are now?

I don’t know if I need to really get into the specifics. I will say people that know me, I’m fortunate to live in a beautiful house, the only downside is I have very limited cell service. So, if you want to get a hold of me, I have to see your face. You have to FaceTime me. The only response to the communication thing is, there’s records in your phone about who called you, when, FaceTime, and there weren’t any specific FaceTime’s from any of those numbers that I was looking at. That’s neither here nor there because now we’re in this position. Obviously, that’s somehow the direction they wanted to go as far as the story they couldn’t get a hold of me which led for this to be the case. My point was if there was a change that wanted to be made, why wasn’t that told to me earlier in the offseason. Obviously, my future was undecided at that time, I didn’t know if I wanted to keep playing. I wanted to go into my darkness retreat and sit with it and contemplate, but when I came out, it was evident that it was retire or move on to a new team.


Joe Mauceri, PIX 11: You mentioned thinking about retirement, I believe you said it, one point it was like 90 percent. So, how much about it was the Jets specifically and what they had to offer, was it the Jets or retirement and how much are you motivated by the fact that Green Bay maybe wanted to move on or was ready to move on going into this season?
I mean not really motivated by that, honestly I’m very self-motivated and I can find different ways to get that extra little inspiration all the time. When you get older, it’s fun to go out and prove it each year that you could still do it and that’s enough motivation I think that I need. This was a big draw because of the people you see on stage here, obviously Coach Hackett, the opportunity to be part of a city that’s hungry, a team with an incredible fanbase that’s hungry to win again. Twelve years without the playoffs, not a Super Bowl win since Super Bowl III, it’s been a long time. So, the opportunity to be a part of something special here, it’s different. It’s similar to Green Bay in that way when you win, in a city like Green Bay, where I assume for a team like the New York Jets, you go down in history and there’s something special about adding that to your legacy.

Josina Anderson, CBS Sports: You specifically said that right now you just want to focus on this season, but can you specify whether you were asked by Jets brass for a longer investment in terms of your time, given the resources that they’re giving up to get you? Can you specify when you plan on practicing and if that is before mandatory?
The first part, there wasn’t any specific conversation that I would like to share with that. Again, I’m an older player, so there’s a lot more than just a playing part, there’s the body part that comes into play. The reason I take care of myself is to allow myself to continue playing into my forties and I have always dreamt of being a starter at 40. I’ll turn 40 in December of this year. I’m going to be here for the foreseeable future. I think it’s important, obviously, I know the scheme that Hackett’s putting in, there’s some tweaks, but I want to get to know the guys and be around the facility. Obviously, I haven’t really spent much time in Jersey outside of Teterboro, so I’m going to get to know the area and figure out a place to live and all that stuff. I want to be here to do that. There’s a lot of reasons to be here, most importantly just to get to know the guys and put together some fun events to start that team building, which I think is really important this time of year.

Josina Anderson, CBS Sports: (Follow-Up) And when do you plan on practicing?
Does tomorrow count? Yeah, tomorrow. I’ll be in there tomorrow.

Antwan Stanley, New York Daily News: I just wanted to know your motivation to continue to play at this point. Obviously, you said you were 90 percent retired when you went into the darkness retreat. What motivates you at this point to continue to keep going at almost age 40?
It’s joy. You want to be having fun at what you’re doing. If you’re not enjoying it, then it’s time to do something else. I think the opportunity to work with Nathaniel again, to work with Robert (Saleh), to be around Joe (Douglas), to be around the Johnsons and the vision they have for the team. I think the excitement of a new chapter has really been fueling my offseason workouts so far and just the overall excitement level. I’ve mentioned the Jets fans are an incredibly passionate group, I’m excited to meet them, to play in front of them, but to be a part of something special is what keeps you coming back. I think this is building right now and what Coach has done the last couple of years, he’s building something special the right way, with the right values, the right type of leadership and I think I can just fit in perfectly. I’m not here to be a savior of any kind, I’m just here to be the best quarterback I can be to lead authentically and to inspire the guys around me to raise their level of play to an even greater spout.

Zach Rosenblatt, The Athletic: You alluded to this before, but whenever somebody comes here, they talk about, ‘Can he handle the New York media, the market?’ I’m curious what you think about moving to a big market like this and the added attention, how do you think you’ll be able to handle that?
I’m excited about it. Definitely heard a lot about the media. You guys have a job to do, you’re very good at it. I’m excited about the opportunity to work with you all, to get to know you guys. I’ve been in Green Bay for 18 years, that’s a long time in a small town and it’s been great. I grew up in a small town. Like when you grow up in a tiny little town in Northern California, you dream about being in a big city, you dream about living in a big city and having places to go eat, interesting things to do and obviously with the city being 40 minutes away, you have a lot of that stuff. I’m excited about the opportunity and look forward to meeting you all and starting a relationship.

Ryan Dunleavy, New York Post: There’s certainly a sense of déjà vu with a Packers icon coming to the Jets. I’m wondering, I don’t know what your relationship is with Brett (Favre), if you guys talked at all about this and any idea of what to expect here? Was there any hesitation on your part making this same exact jump that the guy you’ve been compared to your whole career made?
Well, he had a legendary career. It is very ironic that our paths have kind of taken another step in the same direction. Brett and I, over the years, had talked about this transition and what it was like, but that was a different coaching staff, different GM, different circumstances. I’m excited about the opportunity to work with these guys and my new teammates, this coaching staff, but nice pictures there, good job. We haven’t talked specifically about this opportunity.

Ian O’Connor, Harper Collins: Just wondering, there’s obviously been a lot of conversation about how you can elevate the Jets, but you mentioned legacy earlier. What do you think winning a championship for a New York franchise that hasn’t won one in decades would do for your historical standing in the sport?
I don’t really know about the historical standing in the sport. I think more from this organization standpoint, it would be really special. There’s some iconic names that have played here, probably none more iconic than number 12. I heard what he said about unretiring his number, but to me, 12 is Broadway Joe and I didn’t want to even go down that path and I’m excited about going back to my college number. There’s something special about playing in the city, for a team like this with a storied franchise. Going way, way back to Super Bowl III, to be a part of something special would definitely help you go down in the history of our organization. Already have 18 years in an incredibly iconic organization and it would be fun to be a part of the history of this one, as well.