USA TODAY Sports Weekly

Rodgers says being in New York is a ‘dream’

- Christophe­r Kuhagen

Aaron Rodgers said that the Green Bay Packers will always have his heart as he departed from the franchise after 18 years for New York. But now a member of the Jets, the 39-year-old quarterbac­k is sure loving life these days with his new team and city.

In fact, it appears he hasn’t stopped smiling since.

The former Packers quarterbac­k has been practicing with the Jets already in their offseason program, bonding with his teammates and integratin­g himself into the city by attending New York Rangers and Knicks playoff games while mingling with celebritie­s.

“I’m just pinching myself a lot of days,” Rodgers said last week on “The Pat McAfee Show,” the first time he’s appeared on the show since he announced his intention to play for the Jets in mid-March. “I can’t believe it’s real sometimes. It’s been a dream, for sure, just to be here. Definitely feel energized to be in the building.”

Rodgers penned a heartfelt farewell to the Packers and their fans last week. Last week, he reinforced that whatever happens in the future it won’t wipe away nearly two decades of memories.

“That takes nothing away from the 18 beautiful years I spent in Green Bay,” Rodgers said. “How can you ask for anything better than that? Such a special place to play.”

And Rodgers said there is “beauty” for being in the same place for so long.

Rodgers acknowledg­ed it’s “weird” learning new routines, though one thing that won’t change is his cadence at the line of scrimmage, he said.

“Change can be great. It’s difficult for sure,” Rodgers said. “There’s some weird, bitterswee­t moments. Driving into 1 Jets Drive (address of Atlantic Health Jets Training Center) a little different than driving into 1265 Lombardi (address of Lambeau Field) every day. But I’m enjoying it. And just really happy to be here.”

Rodgers said that being the new player at the facility “it’s like the first day of school every single day.”

“Everything’s new and exciting and fun,” he added.

Rodgers has had this fun celebratin­g a Rangers win with Allen Lazard and Breece Hall at MSG, chatted with Spike Lee from his courtside seat at the Knicks game, while rapper Jack Harlow was two seats away.

“I met Spike Lee, Martha Stewart and Patrick Ewing,” said Rodgers, who has a minority ownership stake in the Milwaukee Bucks. “I’m sitting next to Jack Harlow. So much fun. Just having a ball.”

 ?? BRAD PENNER/ USA TODAY SPORTS ?? Aaron Rodgers attended Game 1 of the NBA Eastern Conference semifinals between the Knicks and Heat.
BRAD PENNER/ USA TODAY SPORTS Aaron Rodgers attended Game 1 of the NBA Eastern Conference semifinals between the Knicks and Heat.

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