“The situation we face with Aaron Rodgers has divided our fan base,” Packers president Mark Murphy wrote in his monthly column published Saturday on the team website. “The emails and letters that I’ve received reflect this fact.”
It has been more than a month since news of Rodgers’ beef with the organization became public in a report from ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Last month, Murphy acknowledged it is an issue the Packers have been working on with Rodgers and his agent David Dunn for “several months.”
Murphy essentially confirmed Schefter’s report that he, general manager Brian Gutekunst and coach Matt LaFleur all made separate trips to meet with Rodgers throughout the offseason and that the team was “very much aware of Aaron’s concerns.” Murphy proclaimed at that time that the team remains “committed to Aaron in 2021 and beyond.”
The most recent development in the story came last week, when Rodgers was a guest on Kenny Mayne’s final SportsCenter show. Rodgers suggested his issue with the Packers was about an organizational philosophy that he believes has gone awry. And while the drafting of quarterback Jordan Love last year changed things for him, his beef was not with Love but rather with the way it went down.
“I love Jordan; he’s a great kid [and we’ve had] a lot of fun to work together,” Rodgers said last week. “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 has skipped the Packers’ offseason program, forfeiting a $500,000 workout bonus. If he skips next week’s mandatory minicamp, which begins Tuesday, he would be subject to a fine of $93,085.
Rodgers became the Packers’ starting quarterback 13 years ago amid a divided fan base: those who wanted the Packers to take back Brett Favre after he unretired and those who were ready to move on. The pro-Favre crowd was more vocal in that scenario and Favre became a sympathetic figure before he was traded to the New York Jets. The anti-Favre sentiment, however, heightened when he came out of retirement again a year later to play for the rival Minnesota Vikings.
At this point, it’s been a mixed reaction in the NFL’s smallest city: those who want Rodgers back at any cost and those who are upset with a player who no longer wants to be part of their team.
“As I wrote here last month, we remain committed to resolving things with Aaron and want him to be our quarterback in 2021 and beyond,” Murphy wrote in Saturday’s column. “We are working to resolve the situation and realize that the less both sides say publicly, the better.”