Will Love Provide Motivational Push for Rodgers? – Sports Illustrated


Bill Huber

GREEN BAY, Wis. – Coaches like to say “iron sharpens iron.” Having been the Green Bay Packers’ unquestioned starting quarterback for more than a decade, did Aaron Rodgers need a kick in the pants?

“I think in general, like for all players, having competition usually elevates their game,” general manager Brian Gutekunst said before the Scouting Combine. “You guys who know Aaron, I don’t know how much – what he’s chasing and what pushes him – I don’t know if another player in the room is maybe going to push him as much as maybe most. I think in general, competition always brings out the best in others. But he kind of creates his own competition every day.”

Nonetheless, Gutekunst delivered competition in the form of first-round pick Jordan Love in last month’s NFL Draft. While Rodgers’ starting job isn’t in jeopardy for the 2020 season, the selection of Love has created doubt on whether Rodgers will finish his career in Green Bay.

Rodgers has used motivation as fuel before, whether it was not getting major-school offers coming out of high school or being bypassed by San Francisco for the No. 1 pick in the 2005 draft. Today, the motivation is different. It’s winning a second Super Bowl and extending his career as a high-level quarterback.

“I’ve never really needed a ton of external motivation,” Rodgers said last week. “You always maybe look for one or two things at different times in your career that kind of fire you up. For me, and I’ve said this at my locker many times, the main motivation is to be able to have consistent play as you get on in years.

“As Mike (McCarthy) used to always say, the most important thing for a quarterback is your legs. When the legs go, it’s just tough to play, especially the way that I like to play. The great thing for me from a physical standpoint is last year I felt amazing. I’ve really figured out how to get my body in peak performance shape. This offseason has really allowed me to get a ton of work on my body and do my workouts and maybe even starting a little earlier than usual in early March. So, I feel really good about where I’m at physically. The goal is, obviously, to play into my 40s. That hasn’t changed. That’s what I’ve been talking about for the last few years. That remains the same. I know the key for that is my physical body and that’s what I focus on. That’s really my motivation is to give myself physically the opportunity to play as long as I want to play. That’s going to be my continued motivation.”

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