Aaron Rodgers opens up on what caused his rift with the Packers

·6 min read

Aaron Rodgers broke his silence on Wednesday — and did he ever give us plenty to talk about.

The Green Bay Packers quarterback reported to camp, got his first practice under his belt and then spoke at length about his feelings with the team and his future with the only NFL team he's known.

The relationship, it appears, will continue for the 2021 season. After that, all bets are off.

“I really don’t know,” Rodgers said about his future after the season. “Things in that direction haven’t really changed at all. ...

"There’s gonna be a lot of tough decisions at the end of the year. I’m just gonna enjoy this year.”

Here are some of the more interesting things we learned from Rodgers' lengthy chat Wednesday:

Aaron Rodgers is back with the Green Bay Packers, but for how long? (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
Aaron Rodgers is back with the Green Bay Packers, but for how long? (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

Aaron Rodgers considered retirement this offseason

Asked if he thought about hanging up his cleats this offseason, Rodgers said ... yes.

"Yeah, it was definitely something I thought about," he admitted.

But Rodgers reflected on what transpired this offseason and realized he knew he wanted to keep playing.

“We got some things figured out in the last few days, and now I’m here,” he said.

Rodgers, the reigning MVP, wasn't about to walk away after a brilliant season.

"I know I can still play, and I want to still play," he said.

Rodgers wanted more input on personnel decisions

There were various reports this offseason that suggested Rodgers felt he had little to no say on the team's plans, roster construction and free-agency decisions.

Rodgers didn't deny this concern Wednesday. He cited Jake Kumerow, the former Packers wide receiver whom Rodgers called the second-best receiver in training camp last year behind Davante Adams. The team cut Kumerow after training camp, and he ended up with the Buffalo Bills. 

Rodgers would have liked to consult on that decision.

"Maybe run it by me and I can change your mind," Rodgers said. 

The way Rodgers made it sound, the Packers didn't even need to change their minds after his persuasion — just that he'd have appreciated them asking his opinion.

“At least to be in the conversation makes it feel like you’re important, [like] you’re respected,” he said.

Rodgers later made it clear this wasn't about one semi-obscure wideout. He noted that he has passed on information from his agency, Athletes First, who has repped a lot of choice free agents and high recent draft picks, but said that the info "hasn't really been used" by the team.

"I just want to be involved in conversations that affect my ability to do my job," he said.

Has anything changed? Will Rodgers be consulted on personnel matters from here until the conclusion of the 2021 season? After all, the recent reacquisition of Randall Cobb — one of Rodgers' guys — sure sounds like the team is willing to make some concessions.

"I'm not sure," he said, pausing for effect, "at this point."

General manager Brian Gutekunst spoke earlier and had a different view of how much say Rodgers has on the Packers' roster.

"Aaron's had kind of the same input he's always had, which has been a lot," Gutekunst said. "He's earned a place at the table. I think he always has [had one]. I think one of the things to this offseason I think is learning how to incorporate that."

Rodgers might not control his 2022 destination

It appears that Rodgers chose to play in Green Bay this season despite not having one key element of control: say over where he'll play next season.

Rodgers admitted that he doesn't know whether he could or will be in Green Bay past this season. He didn't rule out returning to the team next year, but Rodgers seemed to concede that he might not be able to control where he goes if he is traded.

Gutekunst said that the reported concessions the Packers made to help bring Rodgers back haven't happened yet. They are believed to include lopping off the final year of his deal in 2023 and an agreement to review Rodgers' status with the team after the season.

"We're still working through some of those things," Gutekunst said.

It's possible that any salary adjustments to Rodgers could grease the wheels toward the team re-signing Adams, which could go a long way toward the QB returning for a 17th season in Green Bay.

The teammates posted cryptic "Last Dance" style Instagram posts prior to arriving at camp, leading to speculation that they'd play this season in Green Bay — Super Bowl or bust — and then ride off into the sunset, either together or separately.

The good news for Packers fans?

"I'm definitely not closing the door on anything," Rodgers said. "I'm always optimistic in the ability to change. I'd never want anyone to give up on me."

Rodgers loves his teammates, but what about ... the team?

Facing one of the more pointed questions of the media conference, Rodgers was asked if he still wanted to be in Green Bay now.

"I do, I do," he said. "I love my teammates. I love the city, love my coaches. It is a lot of fun to be back here."

He also added: "I wouldn't be here if I wasn't 100% all-in."

But during a previous answer, Rodgers either made a Freudian slip — or a purposely chosen slip, take your pick — when talking about his desire to play another year in Green Bay.

"I love this team, I love the org—, you know, the fans," he said, "and the opportunity to play on Lambeau Field has been a dream come true."

Yeah, it sure felt like he was stopping himself from saying "the organization," even if we can't say for sure.

Packers GM Brian Gutekunst was asked plenty about his quarterback returning — and his future in Green Bay. (Photo by Larry Radloff/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Packers GM Brian Gutekunst was asked plenty about his quarterback returning — and his future in Green Bay. (Photo by Larry Radloff/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

And as for the relationship between Rodgers and Gutekunst? After all, Yahoo Sports' Charles Robinson dropped a bombshell in May about Rodgers wanting the GM gone.

Asked whether he wanted Gutekunst gone, Rodgers said a quick "no" but then responded to the second part of the question over the pair's current relationship.

"I would say it's ... professional at this point," Rodgers said.

Spotted Cows in Gutey's garage? Perhaps not anytime soon. 

But Rodgers reiterated one point multiple times during his screed — this beef, he said, has not been personal and he's not looking for anyone's sympathy.

“I’m not a victim here at all,” Rodgers said. “It’s a business.”

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