Aaron Rodgers breaks silence on Packers rift: ‘It’s about character and culture’
Aaron Rodgers broke his silence on his rift with the Green Bay Packers on Monday night during an appearance on ESPN.
Last month, reports emerged that the league’s reigning MVP wants to leave the team he has represented for his entire professional career. There was speculation the 37-year-old’s discontent stemmed from the Packers’ decision last year to use a first-round draft pick to select the man who is likely to one day replace him, quarterback Jordan Love, rather than a wide receiver.
But on Monday, Rodgers said his issues had nothing to do with Love. “With my situation, look it’s never been about the draft pick, picking Jordan,” Rodgers told ESPN. “I love Jordan; he’s a great kid. [We’ve had] a lot of fun to work together. Love the coaching staff, love my teammates, love the fan base in Green Bay. An incredible 16 years. It’s just kind of about a philosophy and maybe forgetting that it is about the people that make the thing go. It’s about character, it’s about culture, it’s about doing things the right way.”
Rodgers may be referring to reports that the Packers failed to tell him they were going to draft Love, rather than the selection itself. Rodgers praised his teammates, coaches, the fans and figures from Green Bay’s past during his appearance on ESPN, but pointedly did not offer any positive words about the team’s front office or general manager Brian Gutekunst, who has admitted he did not handle around Love’s drafting well.
“I think sometimes people forget what really makes an organization,” Rodgers said Monday. “History is important, he legacy of so many people who’ve come before you. But the people, that’s the most important thing. People make an organization, people make a business and sometimes that gets forgotten. Culture is built brick by brick, the foundation of it by the people, not by the organization, not by the building, not by the corporation. It’s built by the people.”
Rodgers also confirmed he missed the Packers’ first pre-season training camps. The sessions are voluntary but Rodgers will miss out on a $500,000 bonus as a result. Rodgers has career earnings of $240m.
Rodgers has been linked with trades to teams such as the Denver Broncos and New Orleans Saints, while some have speculated he could retire. However, the Packers insist they will not trade one of the greatest quarterbacks in history and the man who helped them win their last Super Bowl, in the 2010 season. The bad news for Rodgers is that the team also says it intends to remain loyal to Gutekunst.