Finally, Aaron Rodgers speaks.
The Packers quarterback confirmed that he didn’t want to enter the 2021 season as a “lame-duck quarterback,” and given his standing with the organization, he felt like he wanted a bigger voice in the room when it comes to personnel and having a seat at the table.
Rodgers spoke after practice on Wednesday for the first time:
Some highlights from Rodgers’ illuminating, refreshingly honest press conference:
— The genesis: Rodgers said that his issues with the Packers this offseason began with a conversation in February, in which he expressed desire to have more of say in things that affected his job directly. He said nothing really progressed or changed on that front, leading to an eventual conversation in March:
“As I felt like, ‘If you can’t commit to me past 2021, and I’m not a part of 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 chance and move forward, then go ahead and do it.’,” Rodgers said.
— Rodgers said, among other things, he wanted to help the organization grow and learn from its mistakes; Predominantly, Rodgers wanted to help the organization learn from the way that, he feels, the organization has disrespected veterans on the way out of Green Bay. He said he was in contact with several former Packers, to see how they were treated upon exit from the organization.
He had a list: Charles Woodson, Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, James Jones to name some players who either were not respected, low-balled or not given a contract on the way out of Green Bay.
Aaron Rodgers says he thought about retirement. Enjoyed offseason away. But as he got back into workouts he realized: “I know I can still play, and I want to still play.”
At the same age, Brett Favre said goodbye with the words: “I know I can play, but I don’t think I want to.”
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) July 28, 2021
— Rodgers, several times, said that the issue with the Packers was never about the money with the team, and while extension talks were had, he reiterated it wasn’t about the money, but security with the team.
— To that end, Rodgers said that the organization’s lack of discussion surrounding his future with the organization past the 2021 season bothered him, and was one of the key issues he had with the organization this offseason. He wouldn’t commit to wanting to play with the Packers past 2021, but he would keep his mind open to it.
— Rodgers mentions that he seriously considered retirement several times throughout the offseason, and would refuse to acknowledge whether or not this year would be his last with the Packers. “It’s a business — it’s an incredible opportunity to play this game — but it’s a tough business,” Rodgers said.
— On the relationship with head coach Matt LaFleur: “I do love Matt, and we’ve had a blast together.” Rodgers says he wasn’t involved in discussions with the hiring of LaFleur, but their relationship is strong.
— On his relationship with general manager Brian Gutekunst: “I’d say it’s professional at this point.”
— On his silence this offseason: “I didn’t want to get in a pissing match with this organization,” Rodgers said. He said that any leaks on drama or the rift with the team didn’t come from him, including the bombshell trade request report on Night 1 of the 2021 NFL Draft.
Rodgers is suiting up for another year in Green Bay, perhaps his last, before moving on from green and gold to, potentially, greener pastures.