Aaron Rodgers is with the New York Jets now but we have certainly not heard the last of his previous relationship with the Green Bay Packers. Their very public and rather ugly separation will loom over Rodgers' first season in a different uniform whether he wins a Super Bowl or goes 7-10.
One thing we can count on at this point is Rodgers giving his side of the story whenever the opportunity arises. On Wednesday, The Athletic's Matt Schneidman published a deep dive on how the divorce between the Packers and their Hall of Fame quarterback came to be. Rodgers was interviewed for the piece and the quotes he gave do not suggest he's over what happened there. Not one bit.
The biggest thing Rodgers has harped on in the last year has been a certain lack of communication with Packers GM Brian Gutekunst about the team's direction. Gutekunst says he tried to reach out often but could never get ahold of Rodgers; Rodgers claims Gutekunst is overstating how hard he tried. This topic was brought up several times in The Athletic piece and lent Rodgers a lot of leeway to slip in jabs like this:
After the first practice of camp, Rodgers aired his grievances, saying he wanted to see changes to the organization’s communication and culture. According to Rodgers, the communication between him and Gutekunst improved somewhat. (“It still wasn’t anywhere near what I’ve already enjoyed here with the Jets in just a few short weeks,” Rodgers added.)
Rodgers also got upset at the implication from Packers sources that he was not entirely committed last offseason.
According to the source associated with the team, the Packers weren’t satisfied with Rodgers’ commitment and effort, not only during voluntary OTAs but on a day-to-day basis afterward. Rodgers takes exception to the thought that the team wanted more from him in the months after giving him the richest contract in NFL history.
“When I’m in, I’m all-in, and you wanna ride with offseason workouts?” Rodgers said. “I won MVP without doing offseason workouts. Like, was my commitment any less then? I’d say not at all. The way that I come back to work, not just physically in good shape but mentally refreshed, is the best thing for me to have the season I wanted to have during those in Green Bay.
“I think that’s just a cop-out written to try and find something to disparage me about that, honestly, when you know what offseason workouts are really about, it’s completely ridiculous.”
He also doubled down on the whole FaceTime story, insisting that if the Packers had done that instead of calling him this offseason the miscommunication problems wouldn't exist. Then he full-on called out Gutekunst.
“Did Brian text me more than I texted him? Yeah, but did I ghost him? No,” Rodgers said. “I texted him back. There was back-and-forths that we had and so this is the story you wanna go with? You’re gonna stand on this hill of austerity and say that arguably in the conversation of the best player in your franchise history, you’re gonna say I couldn’t get a hold of him and that’s why we had to move on?
“Like, c’mon man. Just tell the truth, you wanted to move on. You didn’t like the fact that we didn’t communicate all the time. Like, listen, I talk to the people that I like.”
That last line in particular seems to summarize Rodgers' attitude towards the whole situation. And it definitely doesn't feel like something someone who was over the whole thing would say.
It probably shouldn't be a surprise that everyone is still a bit raw. However acrimonious Rodgers has come across for the last two years he did call Green Bay home for well over a decade. But his quotes here feel bitter and a bit petulant. Rodgers was given a chance to address some actual issues, like the claim from Green Bay's side that he had his agent tell president Mark Murphy to either fire Gutekunst or trade Rodgers. He chose to defer on that but was eager to throw out a couple of one-liners about his old bosses.
Whatever he might say, Rodgers is not over his exit and how the Packers are framing it.