Welcome to the Monday Edition of The Cooler. The World Cup is over. Baseball is on break. Training camp hasn’t started. So …
*Peter King had his first Pro Football Talk column after transitioning from Sports Illustrated/MMQB. It’s now called “Football Morning in America,” but other than the new name and different site it’s pretty much the same King.
The first item in his first column is on Aaron Rodgers, the Packers QB whom King caught up with at this past week’s golf event in Lake Tahoe. I write about Rodgers quite a bit in this space because 1) He’s the best player on the second most popular NFL team in Minnesota to the rival hometown Vikings, 2) I think he’s the best quarterback of this generation and 3) He tends to say interesting things that indicate his state of mind.
As such, I found a couple nuggets from King particularly interesting. First and foremost: King and Rodgers talked about whether Rodgers needs to adjust his playing style after breaking his collarbone twice. That led inevitably to discussion about the season-ending hit from Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr last season.
“I mean, I think it’s time to move on for everybody,” Rodgers said. Great! Case closed. No more need to talk about it.
And then Rodgers continued:
“I had looked over just to see if maybe there was gonna be a thumbs up, or hey you okay? Or whatever. It’s a league where you appreciate what we put our bodies through. I thought … knowing that I wouldn’t be on the ground unless it was a significant injury then maybe he’d be looking over, giving me a thumbs-up-you-okay? Or something. But it wasn’t the case. We had some words exchanged on both sides.”
King then asked Rodgers if he considers it over. Rodgers said: “I do.”
That’s probably wishful thinking. It’s still clearly in Rodgers’ head, otherwise he would have stopped at the first sentence. It will be a major story line when the Vikings play at Lambeau Field in Week 2.
The second item of note: Rodgers will turn 35 this season. By QB standards, that’s not over-the-hill. But Rodgers’ scrambling, unscripted style could make him more vulnerable to slippage sooner than others. So how long does he want to play and think he can be effective? Rodgers says he wants to play until age 40 and to be able to keep the same style until then.
“To be able to move the same way at 38, 39, 40 would be cool. That’s my aim,” he said.
Will that all be with the Packers?
He said he’d “like to” play his career entirely for Green Bay. “But I think in my time there, I realize no one is above the team. They can trade Brett Favre, Jordy Nelson. They can not re-sign a Charles Woodson or Julius Peppers. They make decisions that are in the best interest of the team. It could be me at some point. You have to be humble enough to realize that, and I do. I’d love to be able to …
“How many guys get to actually pick the way and the team how they go out? You know? Hardly anybody. You have to understand that’s a real possibility. But yeah, my dream situation would be to stay in Green Bay.”
Food for thought. I think Rodgers will be back as good as new this year. But the point in the distance where he will start to slip … or he might not even be with the Packers? That point is getting closer.
*The 2003 Twins were 44-49 at the All-Star Break, 7.5 games behind Kansas City in a weak AL Central. They ended up winning the division by four games.
The 2018 Twins are 44-50 at the break, 7.5 games behind Cleveland in a weak AL Central. I doubt the Twins will make a Shannon Stewart-esque deal this year to jump-start their second half, but the potential similarity between the seasons is interesting.
*Huffington Post had an interesting piece on ESPN NBA reporter Brian Windhorst and his career journey with LeBron James.