In a hole in the ground there lived a quarterback. After spending several days in a darkness retreat in Oregon, Aaron Rodgers emerged with what one can only hope to be increased clarity about his future in professional football.

“It’s four nights of complete darkness,” Rodgers said before the experience. “It’s a darkness retreat. I’ve had a number of friends who have done it and have had some profound experiences. It’s something that’s been on my radar for a few years now and I felt like it’d be awesome to do regardless of where I was leaning after this season so it’s been on the calendar for months and months.”

Described as a “Hobbit-like structure,” a reference to the works of J.R.R. Tolkien, Sky Cave Retreats offers three 300-square-foot dark rooms that are partially underground. During his stay, Rodgers had access to the outdoors and lighting, but the purpose of the retreat is to immerse oneself in darkness in an effort to gain a better understanding of things. The retreat center is booked for the next few months.

“If somebody’s sad in our culture, it’s like, ‘Let’s fix you immediately.’ There’s not a real genuine exploration of, ‘Why are you sad?'” Sky Cave owner Scott Berman explained to ESPN. “What happens if you just include the sadness and rest with the sadness, and be with it, without trying to change it? What happens from there? That is a unique aspect of darkness retreat.”

Rodgers chose this offseason to go on his darkness retreat because of a significant fork in the road of his NFL career ahead. The Super Bowl-winning quarterback can remain with the Green Bay Packers, his team for the last 18 seasons, or request a trade with the New York Jets or one of several other interested teams. He can also retire, an idea the 39-year-old has discussed on multiple occasions.

Rodgers said that he had no plans to make a decision until after his retreat had ended. With two years remaining on his contract with the Packers, he is set to make $59 million in 2023 if he chooses to stay in the NFL.

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