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#pounditThursday, May 13, 2021

Aaron Rodgers

Brett Favre not buying talk of Aaron Rodgers possibly leaving Packers

Brett Favre

Most people are taking Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers seriously when he says his future with the organization is uncertain. Curiously, Brett Favre does not appear to be one of them.

Appearing on SiriusXM NFL Radio on Monday, Favre downplayed Rodgers’ comments after the Packers’ NFC Championship loss, adding that Green Bay would never do anything to jeopardize Rodgers’ future with the organization.

“I wouldn’t pay much attention to it,” Favre said, via Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk. “I think frustration, disappointment, hurt, pain, all were in that soundbite. Look, there’s no way the Packers would do anything to jeopardize losing Aaron, unless Aaron just chooses to retire, which I would be shocked. The guy’s playing better now than he’s ever played, and without him, you certainly wouldn’t have been even close to where you were. And I think the same will go for next year, and really the next few years, if he chooses to play. I wouldn’t pay much attention to what he said. I’ve been there. It’s so — I mean, it hurts. It’s painful. The last thing you want to do is think about next year, because you just had a major disappointment, and that’s what you’re hearing in that soundbite.”

Favre’s take doesn’t make a lot of sense. The Packers already did something to alienate Rodgers by using their first-round pick in 2020 on Jordan Love, his heir apparent at the quarterback position. Favre even said at the time that the pick ran the risk of pushing Rodgers out of Green Bay before his career ended, so it’s not clear why Favre would change his stance now.

Favre was an emotional player who sometimes let his heart rule his head. Rodgers is much more calculated, and he would have been choosing his words carefully. Maybe Rodgers and the Packers stick together, but Favre’s notion that this whole thing should just be put aside as a product of the moment seems to miss the mark.

Photo: Flickr/Arnie Papp via CC-BY 2.0

Joe Thomas offers theory on Aaron Rodgers’ ominous remarks

Aaron Rodgers

Aaron Rodgers on Sunday night spoke like a man who may have played his last snap for the Packers, but at least one future Hall of Famer does not think fans in Green Bay have anything to worry about.

Former Cleveland Browns offensive lineman Joe Thomas isn’t buying that Rodgers would actually force his way out of Green Bay. The way Thomas sees it, Rodgers was simply taking a shot at the Packers’ brass for trading up to draft a quarterback in the first round last year.

“R-E-L-A-X PACKER FANS!” Thomas wrote on Twitter Monday. “Aaron Rodgers knows
@packers aren’t stupid enough to move on from the best player in the NFL; who’s shown no signs of decline, and is under contract… this is him just taking a little shot at the GM who drafted a QB in 1st rd last year because he knows that Packer fans AND the NFL will jump quickly on these comments and remind everyone of the stupidity of moving up and drafting a QB when you have Rodgers and could have picked a different player that may have allowed you to win this game and then the SB.”

That certainly seems like the most likely outcome. While the Packers came up short with a loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, both they and Rodgers still had an excellent season. The situation isn’t like when Tom Brady had no weapons around him in New England last year and the Patriots sputtered out in the first round of the playoffs.

Rodgers did not commit to returning to Green Bay in 2021, but he is under contract for three more seasons. There’s still a way he could force the Packers to part ways with him, but it seems unlikely that he will go that route.

Here’s how Aaron Rodgers could force his way out of Green Bay

Aaron Rodgers

Aaron Rodgers made some comments during his press conference after the NFC Championship Game that have Packers fans feeling uneasy. If the star quarterback decides he wants out of Green Bay, he just might get his wish.

Rodgers is under contract with the Packers for three more seasons. Despite that, he would not commit to remaining with the team in 2021 following Sunday night’s loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The 37-year-old called his future in Green Bay “uncertain.”

As ESPN’s Adam Schefter noted on “Get Up!” Monday morning, there is a scenario where Rodgers could force his way out of Green Bay. That would involve threatening to retire if he is not traded. Schefter speculated that Rodgers might want to play for a team like the Los Angeles Rams.

“They control him for three more seasons unless Aaron Rodgers says, ‘I’m not gonna play there anymore. I’m gonna retire. I’m gonna go rogue here and force my way out of there, and I want to be traded.’ … People think the Packers control him when, in fact, Aaron Rodgers can flip it rather quickly,” Schefter explained.

You can hear Schefer’s full remarks below:

All of this remains unlikely, but Rodgers could have easily said he will be back next season. There’s a reason he didn’t. Perhaps he was simply upset because the loss was so fresh. Or, maybe he saw what happened with Tom Brady and is starting to think about the potential of playing elsewhere.

Packers coach Matt LaFleur may have blown Sunday’s game with one of the worst decisions you will ever see. Rodgers said he understood the thought process behind it but that it wasn’t his decision. You have to wonder if he lost some confidence in his head coach after that.

Aaron Rodgers casts doubt on future with Packers after NFC Championship loss

Aaron Rodgers

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers raised eyebrows in terms of both what he said and how he said it after Sunday’s NFC Championship loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Rodgers admitted his future was uncertain after Sunday’s loss, suggesting that he may not be leaning toward returning to Green Bay — or that the Packers might be ready to move on from him.

Multiple media members on the Zoom call took note of Rodgers’ tone as well. ESPN Wisconsin’s Jason Wilde, who has covered Rodgers for the quarterback’s entire career, said it sounded like a goodbye.

Matt Schneidman of The Athletic added that Rodgers is very careful with his words, and it was clear that the quarterback was uncertain about his future.

For whatever it’s worth, Packers coach Matt LaFleur said he “sure as hell hope(d)” Rodgers would return to the Packers for 2021.

Rodgers has three years remaining on his contract and no intention of retiring. He does likely have leverage if he wants to use it coming off one of his best seasons. The Packers drafted Rodgers’ heir apparent in Jordan Love in the 2020 draft, which immensely bothered Rodgers as well. It certainly sounds like he’s going to at least consider moving on in the aftermath of all this.

Aaron Rodgers addresses Packers’ decision to kick field goal

Aaron Rodgers

The Green Bay Packers chose not to put the ball in Aaron Rodgers’ hands in the biggest moment of Sunday’s NFC Championship loss, and he had an interesting reaction to that decision after the game.

Trailing 31-23 with 2:05 left in the fourth quarter, the Packers opted to kick a field goal from the Buccaneers’ 8-yard line. The Packers hoped they could stop Tampa Bay with all three timeouts remining, but the Bucs were able to get a first down to run out the clock.

Most were stunned that the Packers didn’t give Rodgers the chance to go for a touchdown and a two-point conversion that would have tied the game. Asked about the decision after the game, the Green Bay quarterback simply said he understood the decision, but it wasn’t his to make.

Rodgers sounds crushed, as he should. It’s hard to believe he didn’t at least try to talk coach Matt LaFleur into going for it. The contrast is particularly stark when you see how much influence Rodgers’ counterpart in the game had over his team’s decision-making.

Rodgers went 33/48 in the loss, throwing for 346 yards, three touchdowns, and an interception. The defeat dropped him to 1-4 in NFC Championship games in his career.

Bucs LB Shaq Barrett says Aaron Rodgers held the ball too long

Shaq Barrett

Shaq Barrett was a terror to Aaron Rodgers in the NFC Championship Game on Sunday, and he thinks he knows why.

Barrett had five tackles, three sacks, and four quarterback hits in his Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ 31-26 win over the Green Bay Packers in the conference championship game. He was interviewed by FOX after the game and offered an explanation for how he was able to get to Rodgers.

“We knew we could affect the game because Aaron Rodgers gives us a chance to get to him. He holds the ball, he wants to make the big play. We took advantage of the opportunities. It might look easy, but it’s not easy! A lot of work goes into it, for sure,” Barrett said.

Despite the sacks, Rodgers still had nice stats in the game. He went 33/48 for 346 yards and three touchdown passes, though he turned the ball over twice.

Ultimately, the Packers made a terrible decision to kick a field goal late, and it cost them.

This is Barrett’s second season with the Bucs, and he’s already headed to a Super Bowl, for a chance to win his second.

Aaron Rodgers hints at how he felt after Packers drafted Jordan Love

Aaron Rodgers

Aaron Rodgers had arguably the best season of his career in 2020, and it came after many wondered if the Green Bay Packers were in the early stages of giving up on him. In order to play as well as he did, Rodgers says he had to free himself of that narrative.

The Packers decided to use their first-round pick in last year’s draft on former Utah State quarterback Jordan Love. In an interview with Michael Silver of NFL.com this week, Rodgers said one of his most important tasks last offseason was pushing away negative thoughts after the draft.

“You know, especially after the draft, it was important for me mentally to get to a place of freedom with that — freedom from bitterness, freedom from expectations, freedom from future thinking — and I feel like I did,” Rodgers told Silver. “It gave me a really good peace and calm about the season and to be able to focus.”

Rodgers said he had to remind himself that certain things are out of his control. He added that he holds no ill will toward anyone in the Packers organization over the Love pick.

“I’m not fighting against it, and I haven’t harbored any angst or frustration with anybody in the organization,” he said. “I’m really content with where I’m at, and I feel like it’s helped me to be very clear-minded all year.”

This is not the first time Rodgers has admitted he was bothered by the Love pick. That is hardly a surprise, as any quarterback still playing at a high level would prefer that his team use a first-round pick on a player other than his potential replacement.

Rodgers threw for 4,299 yards, 48 touchdowns and just five interceptions this season. His 121.5 passer rating is the second-highest mark in NFL history behind his own 122.5 in 2011. He’s almost certainly going to win his third MVP Award.

If the Love pick motivates Rodgers to win another Super Bowl and keep playing at a high level, it will have been worth it for Green Bay. Tom Brady was clearly irritated after the New England Patriots drafted Jimmy Garoppolo in 2014, and Brady went on to lead New England to three more Super Bowls after that. The 37-year-old Rodgers may be headed down a similar path.

Aaron Rodgers seemingly takes shot at Packers’ front office

Aaron Rodgers

Aaron Rodgers has not hidden the fact that he was unhappy with the Green Bay Packers’ decision to draft Jordan Love in the first round, and the former MVP does not seem like he has gotten over the move more than seven months later.

During his Tuesday appearance on “The Pat McAfee Show,” Rodgers spoke about the importance of records and milestones and said he does not think he is anywhere close to retirement. He then appeared to take a swipe at the Packers’ brass.

“When it comes to records and milestones, I love them,” Rodgers said. “I do take pride in them. I think they’re more things you look back on when you’re done playing. I don’t think I’m done by any stretch of the imagination, even though some people may have thought so in the offseason.”

Rodgers could claim he was referring to fans and the media, but McAfee’s reaction said it all. Rodgers is a weekly guest on McAfee’s show and the two have a close relationship, and Pat clearly thought there was a lot behind that remark.

If the Love pick motivates Rodgers to win another Super Bowl and keep playing at a high level, it will have been worth it for Green Bay. Tom Brady was clearly irritated after the New England Patriots drafted Jimmy Garoppolo in 2014, and Brady went on to lead New England to three more Super Bowls after that. Rodgers has admitted he wasn’t thrilled when Green Bay drafted Love, though he is not holding anything against the rookie.

One Packers legend believes it is only a matter of time before Rodgers leaves the team. That may or may not happen, but it would stand to reason that Rodgers’ relationship with Packers executives is not on the most solid ground.

Aaron Rodgers can’t keep up with all of Philip Rivers’ children

Aaron Rodgers

Philip Rivers has enough children to fill up a hockey team, baseball team, and nearly have a full 5-on-5 basketball game. But Aaron Rodgers admits he lost track of Rivers’ children count.

Rodgers appeared on “The Dan Patrick Show” for an interview on Wednesday and talked about protocol for quarterbacks greeting each other after games. That likely came up because of Tom Brady’s recent snubs.

Rodgers says it depends on several factors, such as the relationship between the players, and how a player feels about seeing opponents after a game.

Patrick then joked to the Green Bay Packers quarterback that you can’t ask Rivers about his kids because then the conversation would never end, since Rivers has nine kids. That’s when Rodgers admitted he lost count of the amount of children Rivers has.

“It’s funny, because I said, ‘are you guys working on No. 9 yet? He said ‘we already had No. 9.’ I thought eight was the last one,” Rodgers joked.

Word emerged late in the 2018 season that Rivers was expecting his ninth child. He and his wife have seven girls and two boys.

Rivers is 38 and has been in the NFL since 2004. He was one draft class ahead of Rodgers, who was selected in 2005. The two have been among the best quarterbacks in the league over the last decade-plus.

Aaron Rodgers rips those who made death threats to Marquez Valdes-Scantling

Aaron Rodgers

Aaron Rodgers quickly came to the defense of Marquez Valdes-Scantling after Sunday’s costly fumble, and it’s clear the Green Bay Packers quarterback will continue supporting his teammate going forward.

Rodgers spoke about Valdes-Scantling’s overtime fumble during his weekly appearance on “The Pat McAfee Show” Tuesday. Valdes-Scantling said after the loss to the Indianapolis Colts that he received death threats on social media, and Rodgers ripped Packers fans who would take things that far.

“I think we need some perspective in this time about production. Everybody wants to make these knee-jerk reactions to things and you forget about the facts — as the kids say these days, the big facts — that there’s a human element to this,” Rodgers said. “Anybody who is so distraught about this that they need to go to Twitter and talk about killing someone, I would suggest that you relax.

“It’s a game. We’re all trying our best. We’re trying to entertain you, but we’re also trying to do our best because we have a lot of pride in our performance. Nobody’s trying to do anything to f— up our season or your precious watching experience.”

You can hear Rodgers’ full remarks below, but beware that the clip contains some inappropriate language:

The Packers got the ball first in overtime, and Valdes-Scantling fumbled at his own 30-yard line after catching a quick pass from Rodgers. That put the Colts in field goal position and essentially handed them the win. It was a huge physical mistake, but Rodgers and others defended MVS over it after the game.

No one feels worse about the play than Valdes-Scantling. Unfortunately, he is not the first NFL player this season — or even this month — to receive threats on social media over an on-field mistake.