GREEN BAY, Wis. — If Aaron Rodgers is frustrated over a lack of a input into the moves the Green Bay Packers make — and there have been multiple events that suggest he is — the two-time NFL MVP wouldn’t come right out and say it.
Instead, he said he understands his job description.
“Well, I think I know my role, and that’s to play as well as I possibly can at quarterback,” Rodgers said Tuesday on the first day of the Packers’ offseason workouts.
“There are decisions that are going to be made, from a personal standpoint, that’s the toughest part. You’re in this business for a long time, and you start relationships with your coaches and players. As you get older – and I knew this as a young player – if I had the possibility and success to play a long time, I’d probably outlive a lot of close friends in this business. Because the longevity offered to a quarterback is obviously greater than a guy who’s banging heads all the time, or running all over the field. So that’s the toughest part about the whole thing, is losing guys over the years.”
This offseason, Rodgers said goodbye to his favorite receiver, Jordy Nelson, and his quarterbacks coach, Alex Van Pelt, who’s contract was not renewed. Rodgers told ESPN Radio’s Golic & Wingo at the Super Bowl that he was not consulted when the Packers made a change with his position coach. Mike McCarthy hired Frank Cignetti Jr. to replace Van Pelt, who coached Rodgers since 2014 – the second of his two MVP seasons.
New general manager Brian Gutekunst said on the day he released Nelson that he talked with Rodgers but only after the move was made.
After Nelson’s departure, Rodgers told Milwaukee radio station 102.9 FM that “I think it’s pretty clear that players play and coaches coach and personnel people make their decisions That’s the way they want it.”
Then on Tuesday, Yahoo! reported that Rodgers has grown frustrated with the organization and that it could impact the negotiations on a contract extension that started this offseason.
“Again, this is a professional environment, but as humans we have personal connections to people,” Rodgers said. “Obviously, he was one of my closest friends in the locker room for a number of years, and played together for a long time and talked about really finishing his career here and together, and making the most of the opportunities. The disappointment is when you get close to your teammates, and they’re not here anymore – and especially when they’re not here, they’re playing somewhere else. But the organization is making decisions that they feel like are in best interest for our team, and you’ve got to trust the process.”
When asked if he was frustrated about not having greater input, Rodgers said: “Again, I know my role, and that’s to play quarterback the best that I can. The team is going to try to put the right guys in place – the right coaches in place, the right players in place. You just have to trust the process as we’ve talked about over the years. This process works, and it has worked for Mike for a number of years. Obviously, that’s why he’s still here in his 13th season. We’ve had a lot of success here, and you’ve got to trust the process.”
Rodgers has two years left on a five-year, $110 million contract extension that at the time made him the NFL’s highest-paid player. He’s dropped to ninth on the play scale with an average of $22 million per season.
“Like the last time, although it was large financial numbers, it was a deal that myself and the team was happy with,” Rodgers said. “It gave us the ability to do some things and made my cap number never go above an unmanageable level. So, obviously., I want to finish my career here. I’ve said that a number of times and still have two years left on my deal, so we’ll see what happens this off-season.”