For Aaron Rodgers' sake, Pat McAfee needs to move on from Jets QB

Pat McAfee is as relieved as we are that the Aaron Rodgers circus is heading into the offseason.

McAfee acknowledged the hassle the four-time NFL MVP's appearances on his show every Tuesday have caused him, with none greater than those of last week, and said he was glad to have a break from cleanup duties on Wednesday.

“We've given a lot of people who have been waiting for us to fail a lot of ammunition in things to attack us over the last week. And we'd like to get back to the point moving forward.” McAfee said Wednesday During the introduction to “The Pat McAfee Show.”

“Aaron Rodgers is a Hall of Famer. He's a four-time MVP. He's a big part of the NFL story (and) whenever you go back and tell it, he'll be a big part of it. We're very fortunate to have the opportunity to chat with him and learn,” McAfee said. “But some of his ideas and opinions anger a lot of people. “And I'm excited because this won't happen every Wednesday in my life, like it has been the past few weeks.”

“On Friday, obviously, I'm going to throw us into the fire as well. Commit to that forever,” McAfee said, referring to his accusation that an ESPN executive tried to sabotage his show. “Everything else, though, can't do that, and that's not what we want to be known for. And I'm also happy that I don't have to have those kind of conversations anymore. So with that being said, the sport is alive now.”

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This was a refreshing introspection from McAfee about the firestorm Rodgers created last week with his baseless suggestion that Jimmy Kimmel would be linked to Jeffrey Epstein, who trafficked underage girls to the rich and famous. Rodgers has courted controversy before, but this attempt to sickly burn Kimmel was irresponsible at best, defamatory at worst, and brought McAfee and his show an onslaught of deservedly negative headlines for a solid week.

Rodgers' weak attempt to offer an explanation Tuesday did nothing to quell the uproar, given that he was non-apology and continued to float conspiracy theories and debunk nonsense with ease.

“The way it ended, it got very loud. Very loud,” McAfee said. “I'm glad this won't be mentioned in the future, which is great news.”

To be clear, this wasn't McAfee dropping Rodgers from his offer. Rodgers usually only appeared during the regular season and in the playoffs – although he still usually played during the postseason. The New York Jets are clearly not a playoff team.

But McAfee should consider making this hiatus permanent. For Rodgers.

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As the host of The Pat McAfee Show, it's understandable why McAfee would want Rodgers to be a regular guest and pay him a large sum to be one. Just as people stare at traffic accidents, they also tune in every Tuesday to see what kind of dumpster fire Rodgers will start. His off-base assertions about COVID-19 treatments, Dr. Anthony Fauci, and his F-bombs may create some uncomfortable moments for McAfee, but they're a boon for ratings.

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And McAfee is no dummy. Say what you want about his show, but he was a genius when it came to building his platform and brand. McAfee was a punter for the Indianapolis Colts. A professional player, but still a gambler for a small market team. However, he has made himself ubiquitous in the sporting landscape and has done so in a very short period of time.

Passing on guaranteed gold ratings isn't a smart business move, especially when you're just moving to ESPN.

But as Rodgers' supposed friend, McAfee has to know the long-term damage this is doing and his role in it.

Rodgers was once a charismatic and relatable star, in your living rooms and at local watering holes at seemingly every commercial break. It wasn't hard to imagine him having a career like Peyton Manning's when he was done playing. Many now consider Rodgers an eccentric, someone who allowed himself to be deceived by trivial science and conspiracies. He's quickly becoming the NFL's version of Curt Schilling, and no one should want that for someone they call a friend.

Rodgers is a grown man and can make his own choices. Be responsible for them too. But true friends don't tolerate destructive behavior, and that's exactly what McAfee does. It has been done.

This isn't “censorship” or “canceling” or any of the other silly ways Rodgers described holding people accountable when they say or do stupid things. This is a friend who realizes that his friend has lost to the plot and that it is costing him his legacy, and decides that he will no longer aid or abet this.

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Follow USA TODAY Sports columnist Nancy Armor on social media @nrarmour.

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