Goodbye and good riddance to Aaron Rodgers

The Bears can sleep easier now that the Packers have traded Rodgers to the Jets.

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Quarterback Aaron Rodgers went 25-5 against the Bears during his tenure with the Packers.

Quarterback Aaron Rodgers went 25-5 against the Bears during his tenure with the Packers.

Charles Rex Arbogast/AP

Light those fireworks, Chicago. Ignite the victory cigars.

Aaron Rodgers is gone!

Well, he’s not off the planet, which would be nice, but the former Packers quarterback is far enough away — New York — that he can’t hurt us anymore. At least not for years.

As we all know, Rodgers was to the Bears what a parasitic wasp is to a caterpillar. That’s the mommy that lays its eggs on a caterpillar and watches as its babies slowly eat their way out. A 25-5 career record against the Bears says it all.

The quarterback-desperate Jets finally got Rodgers, 39, in a trade for several draft picks. And Rodgers gets to go where he likely was destined to go since his days of ayahuasca-taking and darkness retreats led him to some kind of enlightenment the rest of us only can guess at.

The Bears played — and lost to — the Jets last season. But because the NFL rotates divisional opponents each season, the Bears might not face him until 2026. However, an AFC East team will be the Bears’ 17th opponent in 2024, so they could see him sooner than later.

But by 2026, one would hope the ever-searching Rodgers will have left football and found a starring role on Broadway or will have formed his own punk band that plays nightly at CBGB, which he will have bought and reopened.

Bright lights, big city. Stay there, Aaron. Illuminate Times Square.

Indeed, this sportswriter finds it a pity that former Bengals defensive lineman Mike Hammerstein retired in 1990 and isn’t available in a trade. Can you imagine the Jets being led by Rodgers and Hammerstein? Ah, to be a headline writer for the New York Post.

Anyway, Rodgers leaving the Packers changes the dynamics of the NFC North and the Bears’ position in it. Suddenly, it’s Bears quarterback Justin Fields’ world to rule.

Yes, there’s Kirk Cousins with the Vikings and Jared Goff with the Lions. They’re good quarterbacks, solid. But they’re not young and shimmering with unknown potential.

If the 24-year-old Fields turns out to be as good as the Bears hope, with a quality team around him, Rodgers’ exit might vanish from memory like a nightmarish tire fire in the rain.

Rodgers’ replacement on the Packers will be Jordan Love, a young man who has shown us very little during his limited action afield.

But who knows? The 24-year-old Love, the Packers’ first-round draft pick in 2020, has waited three years to be a starter — just as Rodgers waited three years for Brett Favre to move on — and might be full of sauce when he finally gets control of the kitchen. He might be a superstar, dominating the Bears once again.

It’s for sure Rodgers wasn’t thrilled when the Packers drafted Love, his eventual replacement, instead of a wide receiver or two. And that slight, certainly, has contributed to Rodgers’ seemingly constant restlessness. But it’s over now. The soap opera moves on.

Ironically — or maybe just coincidentally — Favre left for the Jets after 15 years with the Packers. It’s like New York has become the resting place for old Cheesehead leaders.

Maybe Love will turn into the next Rodgers. That would be something, wouldn’t it? The Packers with three consecutive Hall of Famers for 40 or so years? The horror.

But look at the bright side: Rodgers is gone. The sun bears down on the Bears. All is bright.

And even if Rodgers had stayed with the Packers, he’s possibly a diminished man. Last season was arguably his worst, with only 3,695 passing yards and 26 touchdown passes. Of course, that yardage would be the third-most in Bears history. And the touchdowns would be the fourth-most. Such is the Bears’ dismal quarterbacking record.

One wonders whether Rodgers will be happy in New York. He never seems to be. The Jets have a very good defense, and Tom Brady proved an old quarterback still can rise to the occasion.

So maybe the table is set for Rodgers to make a run at an incredible fifth MVP award. He says he thinks he can do it. There’s a pretty gigantic ego behind all this all, remember. Which there probably must be. Throwing your aging body out there to be brutalized by big uglies isn’t for the well-rounded.

Me? I hope Rodgers finds a soulmate other than a movie actress or race-car driver and chills. I’m thinking maybe a Nathan’s hot-dog vendor or a Garment District seamstress.

Just somebody who keeps him in New York forever.

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