With 8 years in, Aaron Rodgers figures he has 8 to go

The way Aaron Rodgers figures, he’s played eight seasons in the NFL and he’s got eight more seasons to go.

That would put the Green Bay Packers quarterback, who turns 30 this year, at the halfway point in what, to this point, has been an illustrious career. He cashed in with a contract extension that makes him the highest-paid player in the game earlier this offseason, and he’s filled with optimism as the team prepares for the 2012 season.

I said (in the past) eight more,” Rodgers said in a long Q&A with the Green Bay Press-Gazette. “I played eight (seasons), I think I can get eight more. But this contract, the way it’s set up, it’s not comparable to some of the other similar contracts where the cap number becomes so large at the end of three and four and five (years) where they might have to re-do it. I think we can legitimately see this all the way through seven years.

“Now, that would take very consistent play from me, for me to be worth those numbers for the next seven years. But I fully expect to play well and if I can play seven more good years and we can have some more success and win a couple more (titles), then it might be time to hang it up.”

Rodgers is the most tenured player in the locker room now. In an offseason shakeup the Packers shed three mainstays in wide receivers Donald Driver and Greg Jennings and defensive back Charles Woodson.

“Experience-wise, it does hurt the team,” Rodgers said. “You’re taking away some playmakers, definitely. But I think what you lose in experience you gain in that ignorance almost, that these guys bring in a hunger. They don’t have the experience but they have the strong desire to be great and that hunger kind of penetrates the team. You’ve seen that this spring. There’s a different energy about this team. We’ve gone from kind of a middle-aged to veteran feel at times last year to now I feel like we’re kind of a younger team again.

“Part of that is we have different guys up front in different positions, but the other part is we did get rid of some older players and there’s a young feel to the team, especially the defense. That brings naturally an energy that kind of permeates throughout the entire ball club. It’s exciting being around them. Makes you feel a little older at times, but it’s exciting to see the young talent and the excitement that these guys have.”

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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