GREEN BAY, Wis. – Over the course of 5 minutes, 39 seconds and 837 words, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers listed his grievances with the Green Bay Packers.
In total, Rodgers spoke for more than 32 minutes on Wednesday following the first day of training camp. But the biggest question of them all – what so bitterly changed his relationship with the team that drafted him in 2005 – was asked right out of the gate by NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero.
Here is the full answer. You can also watch his entire answer in the accompanying video. We’ll have much more Rodgers at Packer Central throughout the day.
“I think there was a lot of things that transpired. This wasn’t just a draft-day thing. It started with a conversation in February, after the season ended. I just expressed my desire to be more involved in conversations directly affecting my job. Also, I wanted to help the organization maybe learn from some of the mistakes in the past, in my opinion, about the way some of the outgoing veterans were treated, and just the fact that we didn’t retain a number of players that I felt like were core players to our foundation, our locker room, high-character guys. I’m talking about Charles Woodson, Jordy Nelson, Julius Peppers, Clay Matthews, Randall Cobb, James Jones, John Kuhn, Brett Goode, T.J. Lang, Bryan Bulaga, Casey Hayward, Micah Hyde, guys who were exceptional players for us but great locker-room guys, high-character guys, many of them whom weren’t offered a contract at all or were extremely low-balled or were in my opinion not given the respect on the way out that guys of their status and stature and high character deserved.
Packers Creep Out of Cellar of Hall of Famer’s NFL Rankings
The Green Bay Packers rank 30th in the Aikman Efficiency Ratings published by The 33rd Team.
Packers-49ers Injury Report: Ankle Sidelines Jenkins
Tight end Josiah Deguara was back after missing last week with a concussion.
“It kind of progressed from there into a commitment for the 2021 season and beyond. That really wasn’t given at any time. So, for me, I had to assess the situation, not necessarily wanting to be a lame-duck quarterback, especially after an MVP season, which I think you can understand. And then the other part, in February, was wanting to be a part of conversations involving free agents, which has never happened in my career. I’ve trained with a number of NFL guys most of my career in the offseasons. My agency, Athletes First, has sent a number of high draft picks over the years. I’ve tried to pass along information. It hasn’t really been used, shall we say, so I wanted to offer my services as a recruiter.
“I think we can all understand Green Bay isn’t a huge vacation destination. People are coming here to play with me, to play with our team, and knowing they can win a championship here. The fact I haven’t been used in those discussions is what I wanted to change moving forward. And I felt like based on my years, the way I can still play, that that should be a natural part of the conversation.
“As that progressed from that point, nothing really changed on that front, so we got into March and the conversation changed, as I felt like if you can’t commit to me past 2021 and I’m not a part of a recruiting process in free agency, if I’m not a part of the future, then instead of letting me be a lame-duck quarterback, if you want to make a change and move forward, then go ahead and do it. That, obviously, didn’t happen. Like I said, it wasn’t a draft-day thing. There were conversations for a number of months leading up to that. Post the draft, I think what basically happened is they said, ‘We’ll give you some money now. Let’s see if we can throw some money at you.’ I said from the start it wasn’t about the money. Obviously, I didn’t show up for the offseason program or minicamp. To me, it was bigger than this. It was about trying to be a resource for the organization that I care about and love so much.
“So, when the money came at me, the other part is, the back story to that is, after the season, there’s a part of me that did think there would be a conversation about an extension based on my cap number this season, next season. It seemed natural based on the way I played to at least have a conversation about it. There wasn’t a conversation, not until into May. And that to me seemed like an analogy you guys would understand. You guys have a fantastic year at work, you write some great stories, you go to your boss and say, ‘I just had an incredible year, I think I deserve a pay raise or some security’ and the boss says, ‘Ahh, let’s just see how it goes.’ A couple of months down the line, you get another job opportunity, you go back to your boss and say, ‘Hey, I’ve got this amazing job.’ And they say, ‘Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. No, no, no, we love you. We do want you to stick around. We do care about you.’ It’s just not the same feeling, you know?
“So, like I said, it wasn’t about the money. The way that felt kind of just double down on that. Nothing really changed throughout the summer. There were obviously some developments in the last week or so, but I was really working on myself and my own mental state throughout the summer, and at various points decided if I wanted to even keep playing. But the fire still burns and I wanted to be on the football team. We’ve got some things figured out in the last few days and I’m here.”