Rodgers backs Luck; calls fans' boos 'disgusting'

GREEN BAY, Wis. — Aaron Rodgers understands Andrew Luck’s decision to retire, although the Green Bay Packers quarterback doesn’t see himself reaching that stage anytime soon.

What Rodgers can’t comprehend was the reaction of Indianapolis Colts fans who booed Luck after the news broke while he was still on the sideline during Saturday’s preseason game.

“I thought it was pretty disgusting,” Rodgers said Monday. “He’s making a really tough decision and then before that, he makes the decision, I don’t know why that doesn’t stay in house to kind of protect him a little bit. Although when I think about it, I thought it would’ve been more of a standing-ovation type thing and a thank you than boos.

“I, 100 percent, respect him immensely for his decision. I salute him for choosing quality of life. He’s a fantastic player, he had a great career and he’s got a lot to be proud of. Like many of us in this locker room, if not all of us, we all have interests outside of football. Andrew is an extremely bright guy, and I’m sure he’ll have a lot of things to transition into. I know what it’s like to deal with rehab and going through injuries. I’ve been on IR twice. It’s tough. He was on it pretty much for an entire season and next offseason trying to get his arm back. Again, in my opinion, not playing with him but just reading what his teammates said, tough guy. What he went through to get himself back on the field is what it means to be a leader and I’m excited for him.”

Rodgers called Luck’s decision “very selfless, not selfish.”

“If he’s not going to play this season, he could have played this season and sat on IR and taken the paycheck,” Rodgers said.

In recent years, Rodgers has talked about wanting to play into his 40s, and he gave no indication that has changed. Rodgers said he will know it’s time to walk away when “the love affair with the game is not there and/or if your body is not just functioning the way you want it to.”

“But hopefully that’s many years from now,” Rodgers added.

Rodgers, 35, is more than five years older than Luck and hasn’t had as extensive of an injury history, though he has dealt with health issues on several occasions. His two stints on injured reserve came in 2006, with a broken foot when he was a backup, and in 2017, when he broke his collarbone.

He did not go on IR the first time he broke his collarbone in 2013. He said he dealt with those situations by seeing a light at the end of the tunnel because he knew he could return.

“I’m sure when you’re going through stuff where you’re not sure if you’re ever going to play again — like Andrew did, like Alex Smith might be dealing with right now — I’m sure there’s some tough days because, at some point, you start thinking about your post-career life and ability to move and functions,” Rodgers said. “A lot of guys over the years have had to end their years because of injuries. Two of my favorite quarterbacks growing up, Steve Young and Troy Aikman, those are tough decision but I think they’re decisions in the interest of your life at 40 and 50 and 60 hopefully. Again, I give him a lot of credit for making that tough decision, and I think he did it with enough time and lets them move forward with Jacoby [Brissett] and figure out what they want to do with their roster.”

Rodgers, who suffered the third known concussion of his NFL career in last year’s season finale, admitted that he has thought about his post-career health.

“Of course, of course,” Rodgers said. “Anytime you’ve had a concussion or a couple of concussions, the following days you’re always thinking about what it’s going to be like, but I think with medicine the way it is and research the way it is, there’s going to be more and more things that can help guys down the line to feel better, hopefully. And hopefully, we can do our job in the [NFL Players Association] and continue to take care of former players.”

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