Rodgers: Offseason focus was on mental health

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Aaron Rodgers took a holistic approach to a very tumultuous offseason.

During a news conference Monday, the Green Bay Packers quarterback spoke at length about the steps taken to improve and preserve his mental health amid questions about his long-term future with the NFL franchise.

The comments came ahead of Tuesday’s charity golf exhibition featuring Rodgers and Bryson DeChambeau competing against Phil Mickelson and Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady.

Rodgers, who is approaching his 17th year with the Packers, said he has focused on how to take care of his spiritual and mental states.

“I’m very thankful for the opportunity to work on my mental health,” Rodgers said. “I haven’t dealt with bouts of depression or anything, that I think for whatever reason, are OK to talk about if you’re talking about mental health. I’ve just really been trying to think about what puts me in the best frame of mind. What habits can I form that allow me to feel most in my body, most present, happiest? And that’s what I’ve been doing.”

Rodgers, 37, is in the midst of a very public rift between himself and the organization. The three-time MVP did not participate in the team’s mandatory minicamp and missed Green Bay’s offseason program. In his limited media comments this offseason, Rodgers has been cryptic regarding the reports that started when ESPN’s Adam Schefter first reported on the situation minutes before the start of April’s NFL draft.

On Monday, Rodgers used a proverb.

“Sometimes the loudest person in the room is not the smartest person,” Rodgers said. “Sometimes the loudest person in the room is not the person who has all the facts on their side or the truth on their side. Sometimes there’s a lot of wisdom is silence. Sometimes there’s a lot of wisdom in being selective on what you say.”

But in Rodgers’ extended response at the end of his media session, the quarterback spoke mostly on mental health and how it is discussed. He said there has often been a “weird stigma” on speaking about the subject if one isn’t referencing depression or self-harm. Rodgers said he has learned a lot about having a positive mental state this offseason and was thankful for Tuesday’s exhibition pairing him with DeChambeau, one of the most polarizing figures in golf.

“I think he’s often like myself sometimes,” Rodgers said. “I think he’s a little misunderstood with his own career. I’m excited for him to get the opportunity for people to see him, because I think he’s a great dude.”

Rodgers said he has played a total of eight rounds since last August and realizes aspects of his game will be scrutinized on national television. But during Monday’s news conference, Rodgers said he was looking forward to playing with DeChambeau and having fun against Mickelson and Brady.

“The mental side of it is so important for all of us athletes,” Rodgers said. “I don’t think it’s talked about enough. But taking time to work on yourself is, I think, the best gift any of us can give ourselves.”



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