Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Almost Really, Really Screwed the Jets

Aaron Rodgers confirmed he would have retired to be RFK Jr.'s VP running mate

Aaron Rodgers speaks to the media at Jets' OTAs.
Aaron Rodgers almost traded in his helmet for a suit and tie.
Sarah Stier/Getty

Being treated like a marquee team (unlike the Carolina Panthers) even though they haven’t finished above .500 since 2015 and haven’t made the playoffs since 2010, the New York Jets will play six of their first 11 games in primetime, including their season-opener on Monday Night Football against the 49ers, as well as an additional standalone game in London versus the Vikings. Speaking to the media on Tuesday, New York’s starting quarterback revealed the Jets would have had to play those high-profile games and the rest of their schedule without him if he had decided to play politician instead of football.

Already talking about life after the NFL on a regular basis, Aaron Rodgers confirmed the rumor about him possibly joining Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s 2024 presidential ticket as vice president was accurate last week in an interview with former Fox News host Tucker Carlson. “I said: ‘Are you serious? I’m a [expletive] football player,’” he said. “But I love this country and I’d love to be a part of bringing it back to what she used to be. I thought about it. I definitely thought about it because I love Bobby and I just wanted to hear what he had to say about it.”

Instead of the football-throwing Y2K conspiracy theorist, RFK Jr. ended up selecting wealthy Bay Area lawyer Nicole Shanahan as his running mate. That decision allowed Rodgers to keep his day job, something he would not have done had he been tapped as a VP candidate.

“I love Bobby,” Rodgers told reporters on Tuesday. “We had a couple of really nice conversations, but there were really two options: It was retire and be his VP or keep playing — and I want to keep playing.”

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The Jets are lucky that’s the case because all they have behind the 40-year-old quarterback on the depth chart is oft-injured veteran Tyrod Taylor, who lost his backup job with the Giants last year to Tommy Cutlets, and rookie QBs Jordan Travis and Andrew Peasley. Out of the four QBs on New York’s roster, only Rodgers is ready for primetime.

It sounds as if the four-time MVP knows it, as Rodgers talked about needing to deliver a big year to reward ownership’s faith in him as well as keep coach Robert Saleh and general manager Joe Douglas (who have built a win-now roster but have gone 18-33 during their seasons together) employed.

“You might not say it, but as you get older in the league, if you don’t perform, they’re going to get rid of you or bring in the next guy to take over,” he said. “I mean, it happened in Green Bay and I’m a few years older than I was back then. If I don’t do what I know I’m capable of doing, we’re all probably going to be out of here.”

At least Rodgers will have politics to fall back on, even if he now has to wait until after 2024.

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