GREEN BAY – Not surprisingly, the vast majority of Aaron Rodgers' 20 minutes with the media in the Lambeau Field auditorium after Sunday's season-ending loss to the Lions focused on his future.
Equally unsurprisingly, there were no clear answers in the immediate aftermath of a deflating 20-16 home defeat that cost the Packers a playoff spot.
As he's emphasized before, Rodgers is going to take some time to get away, ponder whether he wants to continue playing, and discuss with the Packers where the organization stands.
Jordan Love is waiting in the wings and several veterans and longtime teammates may or may not be back. Rodgers said he could walk away from the money, but he also knows the competitive juices aren't likely to dissipate within his ultra-competitive personality.
"It's a feeling," Rodgers said of what it'll come down to at some point this offseason, which he promised wouldn't drag out. "Do I feel like I have anything left to prove to myself? Do I want to go back and gear up for another grind? Or is it time? Is it time to step away? Is it time for another voice to be leading this team?
"I think I need to get away and contemplate those things. Those are real to me. I have a lot of pride in what I've accomplished in this league but I'm also a realist and I understand where we're at as a team. We're a young team, there could be some changes with some of the older guys and it could be time to step away. But I could take some time and say hell no, man, I need to get back out there and go on another run. But I'll have to see what it feels like once I'm away from it."
The older guys he referenced were receiver Randall Cobb, with whom he shared a postgame hug and walk off the field and up the tunnel, along with kicker Mason Crosby, tight end Marcedes Lewis, and left tackle David Bakhtiari. He expressed his gratitude for all of their friendships and the moments they've shared on and off the field.
This season was "frustrating at times" but also full of "beautiful moments" and "life lessons" for Rodgers. The offense was making a major transition without All-Pro receiver Davante Adams, and the growing pains with young players were evident along the way.
Through the ups and downs, coming off his third and fourth league MVP awards in 2020-21, Rodgers wound up throwing 12 interceptions, most since his first season as a starter in 2008. His 91.1 passer rating was a career low, and he didn't have a 300-yard passing game for the first time in his career.
He did answer "yes" when asked whether he believes he's still got it, and Head Coach Matt LaFleur certainly couched the un-Rodgers-like numbers in the difficulties the offense experienced as a whole, which can be attributed to both youth and several injuries early on, including some of Rodgers' own.
"I think that there's a lot of good young talent on the team," Rodgers said. "If certain guys make the jumps from Years 1 to 2, this offense could look a lot different."
Ultimately, he gave the impression that won't play as big a factor as his personal feelings and the organization's at this stage. He acknowledged the front office may want to turn it over to Love, which would leave him deciding either to retire or play elsewhere, and whether or not he remains with the Packers needs to be "mutual."
At the same time, "the competitive fire is always going to be there," and now finishing his 12th season after his one and only Super Bowl appearance certainly hurts. So does throwing an interception on his last snap, concluding a sequence of three plays that "sting" with the chance to drive for a go-ahead touchdown and keep the season alive.
"Obviously we didn't get it done tonight," he said. "You want to go out winning the Super Bowl, but it's very rare that ever actually gets to happen. You don't want to lose your last game and miss out on the playoffs, but this has been a great position and a really tough business. It doesn't always end with rainbows for everybody."
If he's indeed done? "I'll miss the guys, I'll miss the fans," were among his last words at the podium.
Those appeared to be difficult words for him to utter, proving what he said to one of the first questions that everything's "a little raw" right after a rough loss like that one.
So now it's wait and see, on Rodgers, on the Packers, and on whatever's next for both.
"I feel good about what I've accomplished in this league and wouldn't have any regrets walking away," Rodgers said. "But I gotta see what it feels like once I get away from this."