GREEN BAY, Wis. – During Aaron Rodgers feud with the Green Bay Packers’ front office, Jordan Love was the man stuck in the awkward middle.
Love took the overwhelming majority of the reps during organized team activities and the minicamp. Love had to get himself ready for the possibility that he’d be the starting quarterback in 2021. At the same time, Love knew Rodgers could decide to come back for a 14th season as Green Bay’s starter.
Rodgers understood the uncomfortable no-man’s land that Love inhabited. After all, as a young backup to Brett Favre, Rodgers spent more than a little time in Love’s shoes.
With that in mind, Rodgers did what he could to help Love get through an uncomfortable situation.
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“How can you not be changed by those experiences?” Rodgers said on Wednesday. “That definitely shaped the direction of my career, I think both professionally and personally, and I think that was an important time of growth for me. And so I definitely harken back to that summer at various times this year, and thought about putting myself in his shoes. What’s he got to be feeling? What are his emotions? How is this for him? And then I just reached out.
“I reached out a number of times, check on him, see how he’s doing. He went through a season last year without his sweetie – she was over in a different continent chasing her own dreams – so wanted to check on him, how he’s doing personally, all the parts of the relationship, the friendship, that are important. And also just checking where he’s at mentally. I didn’t hold things from him. I let him know where I was at mentally and what I was thinking about. And, hopefully, he appreciated that. I just felt that’s what I would want in that situation, just to hear from the guy.”
Rodgers was the innocent man in the middle in 2006, 2007 and 2008. Those first two offseasons, Favre returned as the starting quarterback. In 2008, the whole messy situation came to a head on Family Night, with Favre watching the annual practice inside a Lambeau Field suite while Rodgers was mostly booed by the fans. Ultimately, Favre was traded to the Jets and Rodgers was thrown from the frying pan into the fire.
Rodgers, of course, is back with the Packers. Unlike Family Night 2008, Saturday’s practice inside Lambeau Field will be free of drama, and the only fireworks will come during the annual show afterward.
“Thankfully,” Rodgers said, “I went through that, and I can understand a little bit about what he’s going through, so I just try to keep that in mind the entire time.”