Aaron Rodgers aired out his grievances with the Packers during a candid news conference Wednesday and revealed he contemplated retiring before agreeing to return to Green Bay for at least one more season.
Rodgers, whose future with the team had been murky for months before he reported to training camp Tuesday, said he was frustrated with the Packers not committing long-term to him as their starting quarterback.
“If you can’t commit to me past 2021, and I’m not part of the recruiting process in free agency, if I’m not part of the future, then instead of being a lame-duck quarterback, then let me move forward,” the 37-year-old, future Hall of Famer told reporters.
Rodgers has three years left on a four-year, $134 million contract ($98.7 million guaranteed) contract, and it remains to be seen whether he will be with the only organization he has ever known past this coming season.
On Wednesday, Rodgers also took aim at how the Packers have treated veterans in the past.
“This wasn’t a Draft day thing,” Rodgers told reporters, referring to speculation that he was upset with the team selecting quarterback Jordan Love in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft, as opposed to a wide receiver who could help him win right away.
Aaron RodgersGetty Images
“It started with a conversation in February,” Rodgers said. “I just expressed my desire to be more involved in conversations directly affecting my job. Also, I wanted to help the organization learn from some of their mistakes in the past on how outgoing veterans were treated.”
Rodgers explicitly mentioned a number of former teammates, including Charles Woodson and Jordy Nelson, who he says “weren’t given the respect their high stature deserved” toward the end of their tenures with Green Bay.
According to Rodgers, the franchise “lowballed” a number of veterans on their way out the door.
In the offseason, Rodgers found himself in a similar situation, leaving many to speculate whether his time as the franchise quarterback was coming to an end.
Rodgers, a three-time NFL MVP and 2011 Super Bowl champion during 16 seasons with the Packers, said the front office did not consult him before hiring Matt LaFleur as head coach in 2019. Last year, Rodgers said he had no say when the Packers cut ties with one of his favorite targets, wide receiver Jake Kumerow.
“It’s not that I wanted to have final say, I never asked for that,” Rodgers said. “I just wanted to be in the conversation.”
Notably, the Packers re-acquired one of Rodgers’ former teammates, wide receiver Randall Cobb, in a trade with the Texans on Tuesday, reportedly appeasing Rodgers.
Rodgers said he is at peace with his decision to return.
“I love my teammates, I love the city, I love my coaches,” Rodgers said. “It’s fun to be back here.”