Retired QB Alex Smith recently leveled criticism at the Washington Football Team for how they handled what turned out to be the NFL Comeback Player of the Year's final season. Now Smith is turning his criticism toward Green Bay, calling the Packers' handling of QB Aaron Rodgers "inexcusable.''
“It’s inexcusable how they ever got to this point,'' said Smith of Rodgers' conflict with the Packers. "Aaron’s been there 16 years, what he’s given to that organization and been there.''
Smith is talking specifically of Green Bay's recent drafting of another QB, Jordan Love, even as the Packers were, as he put it, “a move away from the Super Bowl and then (Rodgers is) blindsided with a pick. I just don’t understand ...''
Rodgers, of course, doesn't understand, either, which is why he had made noise about wishing for a divorce from the Packers.
Smith, appearing on Colin Cowherd's TV show, criticized the Packers for failing to consult with Rodgers before drafting Love.
Said Smith: "How do you have a guy like Aaron and you aren’t going out of your way to make sure that he knows that he’s loved, that they want him there? That we may be taking a quarterback in the first round, we want to make sure you’re okay with it.
“You’re thinking you’re a move away from the Super Bowl and then blindsided with a pick. I just don’t understand how you haven’t addressed that beforehand when you make a move like that.”
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Smith was similarly vocal after the 2020 season regarding the WFT's management of his return to football after two years of rehab on his severely-damaged leg.
Washington's Rivera is willing to admit something even beyond that.
“I was scared to death about putting (Smith) back out there and that is something I struggled with every day,” Rivera said. “It’s unfortunate that he feels we patronized him because I can tell you that was not our intention. At the end of the day, I commend Alex because he proved everyone wrong and exceeded any reasonable expectations that anyone had set for him. He not only made it back onto the field but led us to the playoffs. It was a truly remarkable feat.”
Hopefully, the WFT's NFC East title run, aided by Smith, is the way that relationship will be remembered. But the Packers' issues with the disgruntled Rodgers? It remains unresolved ... and it remains a story that most everyone in the NFL wishes to discuss.