Aaron Rodgers Says He Passed on Being RFK Jr.'s Running Mate: 'I Wanna Keep Playing'

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. reportedly considered the Jets quarterback as his running mate before selecting Nichole Shanahan

<p>Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images for Aston Martin; Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic for HBO</p> Aaron Rodgers; Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images for Aston Martin; Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic for HBO

Aaron Rodgers; Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

Aaron Rodgers explained why he decided to continue playing football instead of joining Robert F. Kennedy Jr. on the campaign trail as the independent presidential candidate's running mate.

On Tuesday, May 21, the 40-year-old New York Jets quarterback spoke at a press conference for his team’s OTAs. While addressing the topic before the media, he said he still supports the politician, 70, but he’s choosing his cleats over politics.

"I love Bobby (Kennedy), we had a couple of really nice conversations, but there were really two options: It was retire and be his VP or keep playing," Rodgers, 40, said. "But I wanted to keep playing."

<p>Sarah Stier/Getty</p> Aaron Rodgers #8 of the New York Jets, May 2024

Sarah Stier/Getty

Aaron Rodgers #8 of the New York Jets, May 2024

Last year, Rodgers opened up to PEOPLE about the “sadness” he felt after tearing his left Achilles during his debut with the Jets in September 2023, an injury that could have cost him his career.

"It's been a grind. Frustration, sadness — a lot of sadness," the Zenith ambassador told PEOPLE in October.

He also expressed his gratitude for the individuals who helped during his recovery process.

"[They] brought me food, took care of me, checked on me, FaceTimed me, called me. So I'm really thankful for everybody who reached out," Rodgers said. "It was a tough time and I was in a rough place."

Related: Aaron Rodgers Made Just $81.14 in the NFL’s Performance-Based Pay System Last Season: Report

He noted that his peers — such as Atlanta Falcons quarterback Kirk Cousins — and fans alike joined in, sharing their own stories in hopes of motivating him.

"I've heard from people all over the country, all over the world, who tore their Achilles, sending support because I think we're like a tight-knit family," he added.

During a December episode of the Pat McAfee Show, Rodgers admitted that it would be "unrealistic" to think he'd be "at 100 percent to be medically cleared at any point during the regular season.”

"I do feel like in the next 3 or 4 weeks, it would be possible to get to 100 percent," he said at the time.

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<p>Robert F. Kennedy Jr/X</p> Aaron Rodgers and Robert F. Kennedy Jr. go hiking

Robert F. Kennedy Jr/X

Aaron Rodgers and Robert F. Kennedy Jr. go hiking

In March, Kennedy named Rodgers and former governor of Minnesota Jesse Ventura as possible vice presidential running mates, according to an article by The New York Times.

"No one has officially asked Gov. Ventura to be a Vice Presidential candidate and the Gov. will not comment on speculations," a representative for Ventura told PEOPLE in response.

While reps for Rodgers did not respond to PEOPLE’s request for more information at the time, the controversial NFL star did endorse Kennedy in 2023. Meanwhile, members of Kennedy's own family have distanced themselves from his controversial views and have supported President Joe Biden.

In March, Kennedy named Nichole Shanahan, a California-based tech attorney and entrepreneur, his vice presidential pick.

The 2024 NFL season kicks off in September.

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