Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has raised eyebrows in recent years for his unconventional practices off the field and again made headlines Tuesday. Rodgers told ESPN’s Pat McAfee that he plans to go on a four-day “darkness retreat” as he figures out whether he wants to return to the NFL in 2023.
Many found the idea a bit odd, including Chiefs offensive tackle Mitchell Schwartz, who made a snide remark about it in a tweet.
“Weird the Packers aren’t consulting more with the guy who needs to go on a 4 day darkness retreat to figure out whether he wants to play football,” Schwartz wrote.
That prompted a strong response from Rodgers. The quarterback quoted Schwartz’s tweet, condemning the criticism and explaining why he believes the darkness retreat will be helpful to his decision-making process.
“Be curious,” Rodgers responded. “Not judgmental. We are all on our own path, and doing things like this helps me find a greater sense of peace and love for life. Love and respect to you.”
Rodgers is still under contract with the Packers in 2023, but many have speculated he could be traded if he ultimately decides to return for his 19th NFL season. Green Bay missed the playoffs for the first time since 2018 this past season as Rodgers threw for 3,695 yards, 26 touchdowns and 12 interceptions.
Aaron Rodgers explains what he hopes to accomplish with his darkness retreat
Rodgers explained that the darkness retreat will take place in complete isolation at a small house in a remote, undisclosed location. He will have meals delivered to the home, which will be his only contact with the outside world during those four days.
Rodgers told McAfee that the goal of the retreat is “just sitting in isolation, meditation, dealing with your thoughts.” He added that the practice can produce hallucinations similar to those that occur after taking the drug dimethyltryptamine (DMT).
“It stimulates DMT, so there can be some hallucinations in there but it’s just kind of sitting in silence, which most of us never do,” he said. “We rarely even turn our phone off or put the blinds down to sleep in darkness. I’m really looking forward to it.”
Aaron Rodgers went on to say he has had “a number” of friends who have experienced the darkness retreat and came away with “profound experiences.” He told McAfee that he will be free to leave at any time before the four days are up if he chooses.
This isn’t the first time Rodgers has done something a bit out of the ordinary. He went through what is called a “Panchakarma cleanse” last offseason, which included “therapeutic vomiting” and laxative therapy.” He also participated in ceremonies that involved taking the hallucinatory drug ayahuasca.
Although Rodgers mentioned hallucinations can occur during the darkness retreat, he clarified he will not take any drugs.