The arrival of Aaron Rodgers to Packers training camp began with photos of him walking toward the facility. It culminated today with a blunt press conference addressing Rodgers’ grievances with the team. He did not shy away from the questions hurled his way from Packers and national media members. One thing is abundantly clear — things are not all sunshine and rainbows in Green Bay. However, it didn’t negatively affect the franchise last season, as they narrowly missed out on a Super Bowl.
Aaron Rodgers speaks on his relationship with the Packers in the press conference
Rodgers showed up to the press conference decked out in Green Bay apparel, ready to answer uncomfortable questions with the same poise he shows in a collapsing pocket. He started by answering a question about his summer, and then the barrage of team-related questions flooded in. He set the tone on the first question when he was broadly asked, “Aaron, what was this all about for you?”
“That’s kind of a loaded question. There were alot of things that transpired. This wasn’t a draft day thing. This started with a conversation in February when the season ended, and I just expressed my desire to be more involved in conversations directly affecting my job. Also, I wanted to help the organization maybe learn from some of the mistakes in the past, in my opinion, about the way some of the outgoing veterans were treated and just the fact we didnt retain a number of players I felt were core players to our foundation, our locker room.”
Rodgers didn’t stop there. He came prepared with a list of names he felt were treated poorly by the organization on the way out.
“High character guys. I’m talking about Charles Woodson, Jordy Nelson, Julius Peppers, Clay Matthews, Randall Cobb, James Jones, John Kuhn, Brett Goode, T.J. Lang, Bryan Bulaga, Casey Hayward, Micah Hyde. Guys who you know were exceptional players for us, but great locker room guys, high character guys. Many of them who weren’t offered a contract at all or were extremely lowballed or were maybe, in my opinion, not given the respect on the way out that guys of their status, stature, and high character deserved.”
Having a bigger say in personnel
These were not the only issues Rodgers discussed as he answered that first question. He went on, discussing that he wanted to help recruit free agents to Green Bay. After all, it’s not necessarily a vacation destination. He said in the past, throughout his training during the offseason with Athlete’s First, he’d tried passing information along to help the Packers with possible NFL Draft targets. He says those suggestions were never used.
That was coupled with him wanting a commitment for the 2021 season and beyond, which he says the team never offered. That conversation with the Packers happened in February. There was still no commitment when March rolled around, and Rodgers still wasn’t part of the recruiting process.
“As time passed, nothing really changed on that front. So, we got into March, and the conversation changed, as I felt like if you can’t commit to me past 2021 and I’m not a part of the recruiting process in free agency, if I’m not a part of the future, instead of letting me be a lame duck quarterback, if you want to make a change and move forward then go ahead and do it.”
Obviously, the Packers never moved Rodgers, nor did they give him any future assurances.
Trying to throw money at Rodgers
Rodgers used a nice analogy when discussing what happened in May. He geared the conversations toward a direction the reporters could understand. They have a big year writing and breaking huge stories. Rodgers expected security after his MVP campaign in 2020, but he didn’t get it.
He likened the way things happened to a reporter asking for a raise after a good year. Then, the boss practically shuts it down and takes a wait-and-see approach. After, you go back to their office with news of another job offer. That’s when the boss backpedals straight to their wallet, offering that raise only after their hand is forced.
Rodgers says he did contemplate retirement throughout the summer months. During the press conference, he also spoke about how he was simply focusing on his own mental state this summer. He said that “the fire still burns” and that he wanted to play football this season. Rodgers consistently spoke about the past few days, hinting at recent developments that might have swayed him.
Talking to former teammates
The teammates Rodgers mentioned previously came up again late in the press conference. Rodgers was asked if bringing back Randall Cobb was a step in the right direction.
“The guys I mentioned, I talked to a majority of them this offseason, because I wanted to hear their experience and how they felt leaving the team and how it went down so I had all the information. I think there is a sadness underneath it all. Obviously there is a sadness when your career ends but a sadness that things went down the way they went down for a team that they cared about and loved and put their bodies on the line for for so many years. So to get Randall back has been special.”
He talked about bringing in a true slot receiver to make Green Bay’s offense more dynamic. He believes his old pal is still the man for the job. Mind you, the Packers selected Clemson slot receiver Amari Rodgers in Round 3 of the 2021 NFL Draft.
“I’m not asking for anything that other great quarterbacks across the last few decades have not gotten.”
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