TV

Rodgers back on 'The Pat McAfee Show' after rumors he was booted

McAfee said Rodgers' weekly appearances on the show were ending, leading many to speculate that he had been kicked off over his problematic comments.

Combination photo of New York Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers and former NFL player turned television host Pat McAfee.
Combination photo of New York Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers and former NFL player turned television host Pat McAfee.
AP
SMS

NFL quarterback Aaron Rodgers returned to ESPN's "The Pat McAfee Show" Thursday following speculation that he had been permanently booted off the program over some recent controversial comments.

Rumors started to emerge after host Pat McAfee announced Wednesday that Rodgers' weekly scheduled appearances on the show were done for the rest of the NFL season. 

"So Aaron Rodgers' Tuesday season four is, uh, done," he said while applauding. "There could be a lot of people happy with that, myself included, to be honest with you."

For four years, Rodgers has appeared regularly on the show throughout the NFL season. But these weekly segments gained added negative attention as of late, after the New York Jets quarterback strayed from typical sports chitchat and instead brought up a rather touchy subject. 

In a previous episode, Rodgers was speaking about a so-called unreleased list of people associated with convicted child sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, saying "a lot of people including Jimmy Kimmel" hope the names aren't made public. 

Jimmy Kimmel fires back at Aaron Rodgers over Epstein allegations
Jimmy Kimmel fires back at Aaron Rodgers over Epstein allegations

Jimmy Kimmel fires back at Aaron Rodgers over Epstein allegations

The television host has seemingly threatened to sue the NFL quarterback over recent comments he made on an episode of the "Pat McAfee Show."

LEARN MORE

The comment — which McAfee has blown off as a joke —  prompted immediate backlash from Kimmel, including a scathing seven-minute monologue on his late night talk show and even threats of legal action. 

"... for the record, I've not met, flown with, visited, or had any contact whatsoever with Epstein, nor will you find my name on any 'list' other than the clearly-phony nonsense that soft-brained wackos like yourself can't seem to distinguish from reality," Kimmel responded on social media. "Your reckless words put my family in danger. Keep it up and we will debate the facts further in court." 

Therefore, McAfee's announcement that Rodgers' time on the show had come to an end led many to suspect that the quarterback may have been permanently dismissed from the show due to the controversy. However, McAfee took to social media Wednesday to clear up any rumors. 

"Our fans know that ART [Aaron Rodgers Tuesday] ends shortly after Aaron’s team’s season ends.. that’s how it’s been," he said. "He’ll make random surprise welcomed pop ins during big events or offseason adventures but, it’s always been a season thing. I never said he’ll never be on the show again. I hope he chooses to still chat with us."

Bill Belichick 'moves on' from coaching New England Patriots
Bill Belichick 'moves on' from coaching New England Patriots

Bill Belichick 'moves on' from coaching New England Patriots

Six-time Super Bowl champion Bill Belichick is stepping down after having the worst season of his 29-year NFL career.

LEARN MORE

That said, Rodgers made a surprising return to the show Thursday.

He and McAfee kept the conversation much lighter, largely focusing on sports news, avoiding past topics of discussion like vaccines, UFOs and, more importantly,  Rodgers' fiery feud with Kimmel.

McAfee is in the first year of a five-year, $85 million licensing agreement with ESPN. The network announced last month that "The Pat McAfee Show" averaged 886,000 viewers per episode and reached an audience of some 298 million people in December alone.