National Football League
Aaron Rodgers raves about first week as a New York Jet: 'I can't believe it's real'
National Football League

Aaron Rodgers raves about first week as a New York Jet: 'I can't believe it's real'

Published May. 2, 2023 9:45 p.m. ET

Whether it's just a honeymoon phase or a sign of things to come, Aaron Rodgers has made one thing clear — so far, he loves being a member of the New York Jets.

Rodgers made a surprise appearance on "The Pat McAfee Show" on Tuesday in celebration of the namesake host's birthday and raved about his first week in New York. 

"It's been great," Rodgers said. "Everything is new. It's like the first day of school every single day. There's new people to meet. You've got to figure out your routine. … Everything's new and exciting and fun. I'm just pinching myself a lot of the days. I can't believe it's real sometimes. It's been a dream, for sure, just to be here."

It has been eight days since the Green Bay Packers traded their longtime superstar quarterback to the Jets. That deal ended a nearly five-week standoff between the two teams after Rodgers publicly declared his intentions to play for New York next season during an appearance on McAfee's show in March. Rodgers flew to New York City for his introductory press conference in Florham Park, N.J. last Wednesday and has remained there since.


"Everything's been weird, everything's been different," Rodgers said. "You're in one spot for 18 years, and now you've got a different commute in the morning, different facility. I'm getting lost in the facility, trying to figure out where I'm supposed to go. But man, everybody's been so great. I'm just trying to remember names and get to know everybody. But the strength staff's been great, training staff, coaching staff, meeting everyone upstairs, it's been so much fun."

Over the past week, the four-time NFL MVP has participated in Jets OTAs, after years of skipping them with the Packers. He attended New York Knicks and New York Rangers playoff games at Madison Square Garden alongside Jets teammates, and he exchanged gushing compliments with Jets icon Joe Namath, the last quarterback to lead the team to a Super Bowl. 

Rodgers also marveled at the experience of sitting courtside during Game 1 of the Knicks' Eastern Conference semifinals game against the Miami Heat and meeting celebrities like Spike Lee, Martha Stewart, Patrick Ewing and Jack Harlow. He later returned Tuesday night for Game 2 alongside star Jets cornerback Sauce Gardner.

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"I am having an absolute blast," Rodgers said. "It's been so much fun. … To get to go to the hockey game, basketball game, meet all my guys, get to know the facility. I'm starting to look for some places to stay because they've got me living at the hotel right now, which is great, it's literally two minutes from the facility. Man, it's been a great week."

Rodgers switched from Namath's old No. 12, which the Jets have long retired, to No. 8 out of deference to the Hall of Fame quarterback, even though Namath had given his blessing to Rodgers to wear 12.

Rodgers also specifically shouted out several of his current Jets teammates during his appearance on McAfee's show, including Gardner, receiver Mecole Hardman, tight end C.J. Uzomah and running back Breece Hall. He also said it was nice to have his locker next to Allen Lazard, his old Green Bay teammate who left the Packers for the Jets in free agency to rejoin Rodgers in New York.

"It's been fun to get to know the guys, start working on my cadence, and just easing into it all," Rodgers said. "It's been a blast. And then all the other things that this city has to offer. Everything's new and different and exciting and I'm just enjoying it, man, I really am."

But Rodgers still took some time from sharing his excitement about his new chapter with the Jets to clarify that he did not intend to slight the Packers.

"I definitely feel energized to be in the building, [but] that takes nothing from the 18 beautiful years I spent in Green Bay," Rodgers said. How could you ask for anything better than that? It's just a special place to play.

"But 18 years in the same spot, you also get used to everything and everything is just kind of the same old, same old in a lot of ways — which has its beauty for sure — but with everything being new and embracing the change, and things maybe aren't as comfortable as they used to be, it's been a lot of fun. I think everybody's excited to have me here, and it's been fun to meet all the guys."

Rodgers' informal publicity tour around the New York sports landscape may not be done quite yet. The quarterback revealed that the New York Mets have reached out to him about a ceremonial first pitch, and he hopes the Yankees do, too.

"I would love to do that at some point," Rodgers said. "I want to go to Yankee Stadium and Citi Field as well, both of them. I haven't thrown a first pitch out in a while. Not sure what it would be, but I'd definitely be trying to throw that thing pretty hard."

Rodgers did not shed any light on his long-term career aspirations after admitting that he nearly retired earlier in the offseason, but he said he is confident in his ability to keep throwing a football at a high level for many more years even beyond his time in the NFL.

"I think I'll be able to throw pretty good until I'm about 60 or 70," Rodgers said.

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Aaron Rodgers
New York Jets
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