GREEN BAY, Wis. – Brett Favre, who had his own ugly separation from the Green Bay Packers in 2008, believes Aaron Rodgers has gone past the point of no return in his rift with the franchise.
Appearing on “Wilde and Tausch” on ESPN Wisconsin on Wednesday morning, Favre called it “the million-dollar question” when asked how Rodgers can return to the team after a series of ugly media leaks during the draft.
“I think I know Aaron fairly well and, honestly, I just don’t see him coming back and just saying, ‘All right, let’s just bury the hatchet,’ whatever caused the rift, and, ‘I’m just going to come back and play because I love the guys, I love the Green Bay fans,’” Favre said. “I assume he does, but his rift isn’t with the fans or the players. It’s with the front office. Will he just swallow his pride and come in? Maybe. But I don’t see that happening. If there’s not a trade, my gut tells me that he’d rather sit out than play. That’s just my gut.”
Favre said he has no inside knowledge of what caused the relationship between the MVP quarterback and the perennial championship contender to fracture so dramatically that Rodgers has said he wouldn’t even consider returning to the team so long as Brian Gutekunst remains general manager. Favre said he reached out to Rodgers via text during the first round of the draft, when ESPN.com reported Rodgers no longer wants to play for the Packers.
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“I just sent Aaron a message and said, ‘Hey, am I going to see you playing for the Saints this year?’ just kind of joking,” Favre said. “He sent back, ‘Hey, buddy, I don’t believe that’s going to happen.’ Also in that text, I said, ‘Hope everything’s OK. I’m getting a lot of messages from people asking me what’s the deal.’ He said, ‘Thanks for checking on me. I’ll touch back with you after all this is over.’ And that was it. We haven’t talked since.”
Along with the team’s controversial decision to draft quarterback Jordan Love with the first-round pick in 2020, a selection that wouldn’t improve a team that was coming off an appearance in the NFC Championship Game, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport referenced Gutekunst’s decision to release little-used receiver Jake Kumerow among last year’s player cuts.
Favre said Hall of Fame general manager Ron Wolf “would have kicked me to the curb” if Favre insisted on being a part of personnel matters. Favre said he was not consulted about the Packers’ decision to draft Rodgers in 2005, no different than Rodgers wasn’t consulted about drafting Love.
“He could be a little bit disgruntled by that but, to a point where – hate is too strong of a word – but a dislike to the level that we’re seeing and hearing right now, I find it hard to believe that that’s what it’s over,” Favre said. “It’s hard for me to comment without knowing what it is that happened. If it’s something that he said to Aaron that was very important and then he back-tracked on it or neglected to do what he said he was going to do, that’s one thing. If he’s basically said what he’s going to do and it’s something you don’t necessarily agree with, that’s a different scenario altogether.
“You can’t fault a GM or an owner if they say, ‘Hey, I know you don’t like it but we’re drafting a quarterback and we’re going to go defense in this draft. I know you feel like you need some help but, trust me, I’m in it for you. You may not think so but I’m in it for you.’ I don’t think that you can harbor any grudges if a guy approaches it that way. Has he approached him that way? I don’t know.”
Favre said his “first and only thought” in 2005 after Rodgers was drafted was, “It’s about time.” Favre was confident enough in his game that he believed he could hold off the first-round pick, and he knew that, eventually, someone would take his job in the lineup.
Favre, however, went on to question the decision to pick Love. Rodgers was 36 at the time and under contract through the 2023 season. Rodgers responded by winning his third NFL MVP.
“He’s better now physically and mentally than he’s ever been,” Favre said. “You assume that he’s going to play five years, at least. So, where does Jordan Love fit into the equation, and are you going to come to a point, almost like with Aaron, that you either have to give him a fairly lucrative new contract and really don’t even know if he’s that guy. You draft a guy like that if you think Aaron’s going to be one more year or he’s given you an indication that, ‘Look, I’m going to play one more year, maybe two.’ But, from a business standpoint, it sends a message that we’re planning for the future. And that’s OK. But when is he going to replace Aaron? Are you going to replace him or are you assuming or do you know something that the public does not know, meaning he’s promised us he’s going to play two years and be done. It’s just a little bit of a head-scratcher.”
In the heat of training camp in 2008, the football world was centered on Green Bay as the Packers had committed to Rodgers and Favre had come out of a brief retirement. Favre was traded to the Jets, where he played one season, before retiring again and finding his way to Minnesota, where he spent two years with the rival Vikings.
With the football world centered on Green Bay again, Favre hopes history will not repeat itself.
“I’d like to see him win a Super Bowl in Green Bay, another one,” he said. “But the thing is, life’s too short. I want him to be happy. He’s been there as long as I was there, and I know what that means and he’s put up unbelievable numbers. Win another Super Bowl and then do what you want to do, whether it’s keep playing, play somewhere else, whatever. But win one more in Green Bay and go out the way you want to go out. You don’t want to go out this way, whether it’s sit out or play somewhere else. A lot of people would love to see him sit out. I can name a lot. Everybody in the NFC would love to see him sit out or come to their team. Either one, but they don’t want him to see him go back to Green Bay, and that’s what I’d like to see.”