Aaron Rodgers has a problem with the corporation’s philosophy. That’s what is causing him to stand apart from the Green Bay Packers.
This is how Rodgers summed it up Monday night, appearing on ESPN’s “SportsCenter” and breaking his silence on a rift that widened this offseason between the MVP quarterback and the Packers. While Rodgers stopped short of naming names or specific incidents, he did point fairly unambiguously at the Green Bay front office when he described what has caused his impasse with the team. Appearing on “SportsCenter” to celebrate the final show of his friend and longtime ESPN anchor Kenny Mayne, it was the most expansive message to date from Rodgers about his problems with Packers management.
“I think sometimes people forget what really makes an organization,” Rodgers told Mayne. “And, you know, history is important, legacy of so many people who’ve come before you. But the people, that’s the most important thing. The people make an organization. People make a business and sometimes that gets forgotten.
“You know, 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 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, you know?”
Aaron Rodgers dodges trade question, talks up Jordan Love
Asked by Mayne if he was demanding a trade, Rodgers didn’t answer, instead turning the conversation into a direction that appeared to point toward general manager Brian Gutekunst. And more specifically, Gutekunst’s drafting of quarterback Jordan Love without Rodgers ever having been aware the organization was mulling the idea of taking his successor in the first round of 2020.
“With my situation, look, it’s never been about the draft pick, picking Jordan,” Rodgers said. “I love Jordan. He’s a great kid. [It has been] a lot of fun to work together. I 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.”
Rodgers spoke affectionately about working with or for virtually everyone involved with the Packers franchise — but notably left the front office out of that mix. He also conceded something sources close to Rodgers have been saying for months: That Rodgers believed the franchise’s front office was making plans to move on from him sooner rather than later, but that he disrupted that plan by winning the regular-season MVP.
“A lot of this was put in motion last year and the wrench was just kind of thrown into it when I won MVP and played the way I played last year,” Rodgers said. “So this is just kind of, I think, the spill-out of all that. But it is about the people and that’s the most important thing. Green Bay has always been about the people. From Curly Lambeau being owner and founder to the ’60s with [Vince] Lombardi and Bart Starr and all those incredible names to the ’90s teams with coach [Mike] Holmgren and [Brett Favre] and the Minister of Defense [Reggie White] to the run that we’ve been on. It’s about the people.”
While Rodgers gave no indication of what would resolve the impasse or what the future would bring, he notably has skipped all of the team’s offseason activities to date, including virtual work and the in-person organized team activities that began Monday. His first mandatory reporting date will be June 8. If Rodgers doesn’t show up for that, he will technically be considered a holdout.
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