Two-time MVP sensed he would get deal done with Pack­ers

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Green Bay — Aaron Rodgers wasn’t wor­ried about con­tract ne­go­ti­a­tions drag­ging on. The Pack­ers quar­ter­back has been around long enough to not let such things bother him.

Nev­er­the­less, the two-time NFL MVP said last week he was glad the team and agent David Dunn were able to agree on a four-year, $134 mil­lion ex­ten­sion be­fore he opens his 14th NFL sea­son — and 11th as the Pack­ers’ start­ing quar­ter­back — on Sun­day night against the Chicago Bears at Lam­beau Field.

“There was never a timetable in my mind,” Rodgers said dur­ing a con­fer­ence call. “Had we got­ten noth­ing done be­fore the reg­u­lar sea­son starts, in my mind it wasn’t some­thing we couldn’t get done at some point, even if that meant push­ing off to the bye week. But the last cou­ple weeks, things picked up pro­gres­sively each day and I kind of felt about a week ago that this was go­ing to be a re­al­ity be­fore the sea­son started.”

The 34-year-old Rodgers missed most of last sea­son after break­ing his right col­lar­bone in Oc­to­ber. He can now fo­cus on get­ting the Pack­ers back to the Su­per Bowl for the first time since the 2010 sea­son and lead­ing them through the 2023 sea­son when he’ll turn 40.

Rodgers had two years left on the five-year, $110 mil­lion ex­ten­sion he signed in 2013.

He said he signed the ex­ten­sion last week Wed­nes­day with Pack­ers chief con­tract ne­go­tia­tor Russ Ball, gen­eral man­ager Brian Gutekunst and team pres­i­dent/CEO Mark Mur­phy in the room.

Gutekunst took over as gen­eral man­ager in Jan­uary from Ted Thomp­son, who se­lected Rodgers with the 24th pick in the 2005 draft. Thomp­son made the call even though the Pack­ers al­ready had a fu­ture Pro Foot­ball Hall of Famer in Brett Favre.

Rodgers be­came the starter after Favre was traded to the New York Jets in 2008. Favre went on to play two sea­sons with Min­nesota be­fore re­tir­ing after the 2010 sea­son.

“Aaron is a rare player. He has been since he re­ally took over the reins here. His level of play has been at the high­est level and con­tin­ues to be,” Gutekunst said.

“I think com­ing off last year, which was dis­ap­point­ing for all of us (be­cause of ) his in­jury, it’s been im­pres­sive to see him come back and com­pete and play with the edge — cer­tainly no drop-off or any phys­i­cal lim­i­ta­tions at all.

“For those of you who’ve been out there on a daily ba­sis have seen that. We ex­pect that and look for­ward to years to come of that kind of play.” And Rodgers has those same ex­pec­ta­tions. “I think all it re­ally does is just so­lid­ify my stand­ing as a part of the fu­ture of this foot­ball team,” he said.

“It just so­lid­i­fies my spot on the squad and re­in­forces to the guys in the locker room that I’m go­ing to be here.

“Also, that I’ve got to pick up a lot more din­ners.”

AP

Ted Thomp­son (right) se­lected Aaron Rodgers with the 24th pick in the 2005 draft. Rodgers be­came the high­est-paid player in NFL his­tory last week.

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