Michael Irvin says Aaron Rodgers' Week 1 struggles can be pinned on his offseason thoughts of quitting football ... telling TMZ Sports the QB's retirement talk played a role in his bad day against the Saints.
"This game is too hard," Irvin said at Dulles International Airport on Friday. "That's why you hear people say, if you're talking about or thinking about retiring, you're already retired."
"So," Irvin continued, "Aaron was was thinking about not playing. And it showed up, man."
The good news -- at least for Packers fans -- Irvin certainly seems to believe it's all reversible ... telling us, "I expect him to play much better."
"That's not something he would be doing all the time."
For any of you Bears fans still feeling flat after Sunday night, (and for your viewing pleasure), I hope this Aaron Rodgers lowlights reel in 2x speed, coupled with the Benny Hill theme goes in some small way to lifting your spirits...😉 pic.twitter.com/mcYC4UpbbB
Rodgers had maybe the most interesting offseason of any player in the NFL -- he feuded so hard with the Packers over his contract and personnel decisions ... he legit pondered leaving the game despite having an MVP season in 2020.
In fact, Aaron stayed away from all of Green Bay's offseason practices and workouts while disgruntled -- and instead, traveled the globe with his fiancee, Shailene Woodley, and hosted "Jeopardy!"
Irvin clearly believes all of that played a big role in his 133-yard, 2-interception day against New Orleans ... but he still thinks Rodgers will rebound soon.
"You've got to hope that he is ready," Irvin said, "because there's nothing that you can say."
Rodgers and the Packers take the field next on "Monday Night Football" against the Detroit Lions.