Raiders, others wait for Rodgers to emerge from darkness retreat
As Aaron Rodgers prepares to isolate in darkness, the Raiders and the rest of the NFL wait.
The Packers’ four-time MVP, Chico native and Super Bowl-winning quarterback told the “Pat McAfee Show” on Tuesday that more than four months of planning will culminate at “the end of this week” with a four-day, four-night darkness retreat in a small home at an undisclosed location.
It is there, Rodgers said, that he will close himself off from the rest of the world — no phone, TV, books, music or anything else — and live in complete darkness. Food will be delivered to him through a slot in the door once a day.
From that setting — alone with just his thoughts — he will contemplate every aspect of his life and presumably move one step closer to deciding his next football move.
The 39-year-old Rodgers, who is under contract with Green Bay for four more seasons, has not said whether he will return for a 19th season in 2023. But the chance to sort things out during his retreat is expected to go a long way toward providing direction.
Or, as Rodgers said: “I feel like I’ll be closer to a final, final decision.”
That’s where the Raiders might come into play. But first, there’s the darkness retreat.
“It’s just sitting in isolation, meditation, dealing with your thoughts,” Rodgers told McAfee. “It stimulates DMT, so there can be some hallucinations in there, but it’s just kind of sitting in silence, which most of us never do. We rarely even turn our phone off or put the blinds down to sleep in darkness. I’m
really looking forward to it.”
Rodgers’ methods might seem unorthodox, but darkness retreats have been around for centuries. As the Hermitage Retreat Center in Guatemala explains on its website, a dark retreat “is an unparalleled experience in intense seclusion, in which the practitioner is deprived of all light and sensory distractions, and thus plunges into a deep witnessing awareness of the mind and eventually experiences the perception of the inner light of pure consciousness.”
Rodgers is eager to get started.
“I am not scared,” he
said. “I am looking forward to this as much as anything I’ve done in a long time.”
The retreat was not designed solely to create clarity on his football future. But the Raiders are eager to find out if it perhaps could include them.
Rodgers has three options: Stay with the Packers, with whom he has spent his entire career, ask for a trade or retire. If he decides to continue to play but asks for a trade, the Raiders are considered the favorite to get him, with the Jets also expected to make a push for him.
The Raiders need a quarterback after releasing Derek Carr on Tuesday,
and they have an ace up their sleeve in wide receiver Davante Adams, who played with Rodgers for eight seasons in Green Bay. Adams is emphatic about wanting Rodgers to join him in Las Vegas and indicated he will make that clear to coach Josh McDaniels and general manager Dave Ziegler.
The Raiders have the draft capital and financial wherewithal to make a deal happen. Should Rodgers ask for a trade, they will at least explore the possibility of acquiring him
Of course, all of that is predicated on where Rodgers’ head is after emerging from the darkness.