Aaron Rodgers on Why Time Apart from Shailene Woodley During NFL Season Will Be 'a Good Thing'
Absence makes the heart grow fonder, they say.
In a recent interview with Haute Living, 37-year-old Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers suggested that being forced to spend time apart from fiancée Shailene Woodley during the upcoming NFL season isn't all bad news.
"It's a busy work time for her, so [my decision] probably came at a good time for both of us to be able to focus on our work. I think it's going to be a good thing," he told the outlet.
"I mean, her work was shut down for an entire year, and she's booked a number of projects," he added regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. "She enjoys working and her own routine, which I obviously enjoy, too."
Rodgers and Woodley began dating shortly after the NFL star's long-term relationship with race car driver Danica Patrick ended in July 2020. News of their engagement broke just days after rumors of their romance first surfaced in February.
Rodgers will spend at least four months in Wisconsin for the 2021 NFL season while Woodley remains in Los Angeles while she works on her own projects, he told Haute Living. Despite his contract with the Packers, returning for another season was still not a simple decision for the veteran quarterback.
"I think I was really waiting for that intuitive feeling of, 'Should I do this? This feels right.' And there were a lot of times throughout the process where I felt like I was getting a sign to go this way, a sign to retire, maybe, a sign to go back, that I might get traded, but nothing ever felt like it stuck," he confessed.
"So I thought a lot, meditated a lot on what happiness is, and what does quality of life look like to me?" he said, noting that journaling helped him significantly with the decision. "I've done this before. I've written down what my ideal days would be: ideal days playing and not playing. I did this a few different times, thought about what my life would look like, and then I surrendered to the signs of the universe."
Ultimately, Rodgers felt his job in Green Bay was not done. So, he opted to return to the Packers for a 17th NFL season.
"I just kept on going back to that I had unfinished business in Green Bay, and I wanted to be back there with the guys, to not have the way things had gone at the end of last year be the way I go out there," he told Haute Living. "The signs were pointing that way in the last week, and two nights before I was supposed to leave [for preseason], I felt a key piece slide into place, and that's when I knew. I woke up the next morning and said, 'I'm going back.' "
On July 28, Rodgers admitted to reporters that he had "definitely" contemplated retirement before deciding to keep playing. The quarterback had not been shy about his displeasure with the team up until his decision.
"If you can't commit to me past 2021, and I'm not part of the recruiting process in free agency, if I'm not part of the future, then instead of being a lame-duck quarterback, then let me move forward," he said at the time, via ESPN.
But Rodgers did not want to play "victim" with the Packers, noting he had already made a ton of money" in Green Bay and felt "really fortunate" to play for the team for over a decade. "At the same time I'm still competitive and I still feel like I can play," he added. "I proved it last year."
Though wedding bells are in their future, Woodley said the couple had not started planning their nuptials in an interview with Entertainment Tonight the week before Rodgers' big press conference.
"There's no rush. We've got no rush," she said, noting how fast the pair's romance began.
"Starting a relationship where you immediately move in with someone — because it's a pandemic and you can't just get on a plane and go back and forth on weekends — taught us a lot about each other very quickly," Woodley added. "We jumped in headfirst and got some of the sticky bits out of the way early."