After weeks of trying to figure out what was going on in Aaron Rodgers’ head through “sources” and second-hand observations from friends, the man himself finally appeared on “SportsCenter” to set the record straight.
Rodgers spoke publicly for the first time about his feelings towards the Packers franchise, which have reportedly soured to a point of no return since the 2020 season ended. He told Kenny Mayne – who was making his final appearance on the ESPN program – that his frustrations aren’t necessarily about the team drafting Jordan Love, but more how GM Brian Gutekunst handled things afterwards.
“With my situation, look it’s never been about the draft pick, picking Jordan,” Rodgers said. “I love Jordan; he’s a great kid. [We’ve had] a lot of fun to work together. Love the coaching staff, love my teammates, love the fan base in Green Bay. An incredible 16 years.
“It’s just kind of about a philosophy and maybe forgetting that it is about the people that make the thing go. It’s about character, it’s about culture, it’s about doing things the right way.”
Through earlier reports, Rodgers has allegedly said he does not intend to return to the Packers, and while he didn’t exactly say he will never play for them again, he did confirm that he skipped the team’s OTAs this week.
Through his words, it did become clear that his annoyance is directed towards Gutekunst and the front office. He praised just about everyone else in the organization – stretching back for years.
“I think sometimes people forget what really makes an organization,” Rodgers said. “History is important, legacy of so many people who’ve come before you. But the people, that’s the most important thing. People make an organization, people make a business and sometimes that gets forgotten. Culture is built brick by brick, the foundation of it by the people, not by the organization, not by the building, not by the corporation. It’s built by the people.
“I’ve been fortunate enough to play with a number of amazing, amazing people and got to work for some amazing people as well. It’s those people that build the foundation of those entities. I think sometimes we forget that.”
The question now becomes whether or not Rodgers will report to the Packers at all. Their mandatory minicamp will take place in June, and the reigning MVP will be fined nearly $100,000 for not showing up, per ESPN. If he misses training camp, it’s $50,000 per day.
The Packers appear committed to Gutekunst, who has maintained that he will not trade Rodgers. If one side cracks, it will be interesting to see who does so first.
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