By Patrick Djordjevic For Dailymail.Com
4:32 PM Feb 19 2023, update 16:32 Feb 19 2023
As Tom Brady rushes into an uncertain new world beyond his retirement from the NFL, Aaron Rodgers prepares for an immersion in darkness to find the light and the future.
The league, which is not known for its Christian values, will be on its knees, praying that Rodgers will make an entirely different decision than the seven-time Super Bowl champion.
Brady announced his retirement for the second – and final – time on February 1, ending one of sport’s greatest careers.
Rodgers could be close to joining after flirting with retirement yet again this season, fueling speculation since the Packers missed out on a playoff berth with a loss to Detroit in the final week of the regular season.
An NFL without Rodgers would be a shattering hammer blow, leaving the league with a lighter quarterback. Regardless of his take on Rodgers’ indulgences in the dark, hallucinogens, or anti-vaccine rhetoric, North America’s biggest reality show will be poorer without him.
Brady confirmed this during his Let’s go! Podcast on Sirius XM this week.
“Hopefully he doesn’t retire,” Brady said. “I think the league needs good quarterbacks and he’s one of the greats. So if he retires, it will be a sad day for the league.
Rodgers’ methodology for making a decision has been widely flouted. The Green Bay quarterback revealed on Tuesday that he would enter total darkness “later in the week.”
The four-time NFL MVP will endure “four nights of total darkness,” and not just to conclude his professional career.
Rodgers will undertake the unique experience inside a specific house where food will be given to him through a “two-way slot”.
“It’s been on the calendar for months and months and months…it’s a room, it’s a little house. They will bring you food but it’s isolation and darkness, no music, nothing. Just me, isolation,’ the 39-year-old revealed.
“I’m still in the art of contemplating my future. After my isolation retreat, I will be ready to make a decision.
WHAT IS A RETREAT IN DARKNESS?
According to the Hermitage Retreat website – it is unclear if this is the company Rodgers left with – a retreat in darkness is “an unprecedented experience in intense seclusion, in which the practitioner is deprived of all light and sensory distractions, and thus delves into deep mind-witness awareness, and ultimately experiences the perception of the inner light of pure awareness.
“Retreating into total darkness is a practice common to many ancient and contemporary spiritual traditions around the world.
‘From monks and lamas in Tibet, to the Kogi Mamos in Colombia; the ancient Egyptians and mystics of 15th century France, Dark Retreats have provided revelation and enlightenment to countless practitioners who have sought inner light.
Each application is considered individually to participate in a request for darkness. Participants receive two vegan meals per day.
Rodgers regularly undertook unique practices as a way to grow and expand his horizons.
Prior to the 2020 and 2022 seasons, Rodgers used ayahuasca – a South American psychoactive brew used in shamanic spiritual medicine.
He spoke enthusiastically about its impact on his mental state and the relief from a burden carried by many.
“I was definitely scared to death,” Rodgers said. “And the ayahuasca, and the psilocybin (mushrooms) actually, really helped me with that and relieved a lot of the stress around the idea of having to accomplish things before I die.”
“I did ayahuasca in 2020 and won two MVPs,” Rodgers told Fox Sports in September. “I don’t think it’s a coincidence. I don’t really believe in coincidences.
‘I believe in science and synchronicities, and I really feel like what it’s allowed me to do is have a greater love for the game I’m playing, a greater love for my teammates and I had maybe my best season of my career in 2020 and then followed up last year with an even greater integration of a lot of those lessons.
“(There was) me and me after ayahuasca,” Rodgers told Joe Rogan last year.
Speaking about the effects of mushrooms, he said: “just an incredible connection to nature and life and all sentient beings and all plants and fungi.”
When Rodgers talks about issues surrounding his future or matters outside of football, it is often met with widespread derision.
And yet, his mere presence on the catwalk gives the NFL wider promotion and a distinctive voice, often with a different opinion than the majority.
There is no better example than his stance against the COVID-19 vaccine. Rodgers was, as he described it, “immune” to the disease which caused the continents to be locked down by governments around the world.
When asked in August 2021 if he was vaccinated, the former Super Bowl champion called himself “vaccinated.” Reporters did not follow up and simply assumed he had received a pharmaceutical vaccine, such as Pfizer.
Rodgers thought it was up to reporters to dig deeper if they wanted to. It became public knowledge that he was not traditionally vaccinated after contracting COVID in November of that year, which caused a storm in traditional and social media.
In recent years, he has also rebelled against “woke” values, which has made him a “villain”.
“There are heroes and villains in sports and entertainment, and I think because of my stance on Covid and maybe other things, I was cast as the villain. Especially the last few years,” Rodgers told Pat McAfee last month.
WHAT IS AYAHUASCA?
Ayahuasca is a hallucinogenic drink that is illegal in the United States and the United Kingdom but widely used by tribal societies in the Amazon basin.
Shamans regard ayahuasca as a “wisdom” plant that allows entry into the spiritual world, and it was recognized as such by the government of Peru in 2008.
It can cause hallucinations similar to the effects of LSD or magic mushrooms, according to Talk to Frank. They’re two hours long and “usually enjoyable,” but can cause panic and horrific flashbacks, the website says.
The negative emotional effects of taking ayahuasca can last for days and make it particularly dangerous for people with mental health issues.
It can also increase blood pressure and heart rate and may harm people with pre-existing heart disease.
“And so, that’s how a lot of the things that I say are often interpreted. This awakened culture wants to be offended by everything.
“You just go online and find something you don’t agree with. “I am offended! How can you say that? I do not care. I don’t care who it came from or who said it.
It’s this outward apathy for his critics that gives Rodgers the freedom to speak his mind, which makes him both loved by some and hated by others.
Regardless of his perspective, Rodgers is someone who moves the needle in ways that not all of today’s top quarterbacks can.
Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, Joe Burrow, Jalen Hurts. While all offering their own unique personalities in the eyes of the media and fans, they don’t polarize off the pitch.
Granted, not everyone is thrilled at the idea of a dynasty in Kansas City, but the foursome aren’t polarizing like Rodgers. Like Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, Rodgers is a perpetual talker, and quite often willful.
The New York Jets are rumored to be a potential option, although Rodgers is under contract, in what would be a crisis firecracker.
A star quarterback with an unbridled desire to speak his mind, against the backdrop of the nearby media capital of the world.
On the field, Gang Green looks like he could call on a signalman of Rodgers’ pedigree in an effort to challenge his division and the AFC.
With fierce defense and talented players, New York apparently only needs a quarterback to put them in the heart of the playoffs. Without a consistent performer under center, the Florham Park franchise was less than two games away from a wildcard spot.
Rodgers still has two years left on his three-year contract which is believed to be worth more than $150 million and would need any trades to be sanctioned by the Packers front office.
Rodgers’ naysayers will say he hasn’t been able to close games when it really matters. Namely, losses at Lambeau Field as the NFC’s No. 1 seed; against the Giants, Bucs and 49ers in 2011, 2020 and 2021 respectively.
And most recently, the game-winning loss to Detroit in January, a team – albeit a hot one – was knocked out of the playoffs just before kickoff.
However, before Mahomes won his second MVP last week, Rodgers was voted the league’s most valuable consecutive player.
Despite his numbers down from previous seasons – he finished with 26 touchdowns and 12 interceptions – Rodgers showed what he was capable of at the end of the season against Dallas (14/20 for 224 yards, 3 TDs).
Despite his career now in the twilight years, Rodgers is a celebrity in his own right. Often he turned to them too.
His current relationship status is unknown, despite reports linking him to the 26-year-old daughter of Milwaukee Bucks owner Mallory Edens.
A People Magazine source said of the two last month; “It’s more than friends, but it’s laid back. Nothing serious at all.
He was previously engaged to ‘The Fault In Our Stars’ actress Shailene Woodley before finally breaking up in April 2022.
Rodgers also dated former NASCAR driver Danica Patrick for a two-year stint between 2018 and 2020. Actress Olivia Munn was also a future Hall of Famer at one point.
Whether Rodgers breaks with the Packers remains to be determined. His future currently remains in the shadows, not too unlike the man himself this weekend.