GREEN BAY – Aaron Rodgers has made it no secret he plans on playing into his 40s, going to great lengths in his diet and training to ensure his body is ready for the long haul.
Finding that fountain of youth is a difficult thing to achieve in the NFL. According to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, only 36 non-specialists have surpassed that threshold. Nineteen of those players were quarterbacks.
One of those rare breeds, former Packers quarterback Brett Favre, was back in the Green Bay area Wednesday night to accept the Distinguished Service Award at the Lee Remmel Sports Award Banquet, an annual event named for the former Packers public relations director and team historian.
When asked about the prospects of Rodgers playing to 40 – he'll start the season at 33 years old – Favre doesn't see any reason why the two-time NFL MVP can't do it.
"I think we're seeing more of that today, but more importantly I think we're seeing more productive – not just playing. I think there's a difference," Favre said. "I would think Aaron could. Why stop at 40? He moves around as well as anyone in the game right now. That's big."
Favre used Patriots quarterback Tom Brady as a perfect example of an older NFL veteran who has thrived in the latter half of his career. In less than one month, Brady will join that exclusive group of 40-year-old quarterbacks who have started an NFL game.
While Rodgers' game is unquestionably different from Brady's, the Packers quarterback has made a series of changes in his offseason training regime and nutrition over the past few years to better prepare his body for the rigors of a long season.
A week ago, Rodgers told reporters he hopes to not only play into his 40s, but also spend his entire career in one place like American sports icons Derek Jeter, Tim Duncan and Kobe Bryant.
"Six or seven years from now is a long time to think that far down the road, but there's no reason to think he couldn't play and play at a high level," Favre said. "It's up to the individual and I don't see any decline in his game unless he doesn't want to play anymore."
Favre has been busy since his Pro Football Hall of Fame induction in Canton, Ohio, last August. His youngest daughter, Breleigh, has been preparing for her freshman year at Favre's alma mater, Southern Miss, where she'll play volleyball.
Favre said he hasn't worn the gold jacket since his induction ceremony, though it wasn't for a lack of trying.
"I've tried to get it to take it out to dinner and she just refuses to let me wear it. Actually, I think it's in her closet," Favre said.
"I don't wear it, not that I'm not proud of it, but I'm pretty careless. The gold jacket could easily get spaghetti sauce on it, and that may be taboo."
It was a special night for Favre, who was a close friend of Remmel's until his death in April 2015. The quarterback smiled when admitting he has more stories about the lifelong Packers ambassador than "I probably have of anything."
"This guy actually got to watch Don Hutson, Bart Starr, Paul Hornung, Jim Taylor, Willie Wood, Willie Davis, Jim Taylor and the list goes on and on, Nitschke, Brett Favre – kind of put that one down at the bottom," Favre deadpanned.
"That's pretty special. Lombardi. Just a tremendous career and I always had such a wonderful time talking with him. … I had a blast just listening to him talk about the history. I thought he was such an asset to this organization and really to this town in so many ways, and to never play a down, I think that obviously says a lot about Lee."