The bombshell report that Aaron Rodgers is not happy with the Packers and wants out of Green Bay dominated the weekend of the NFL draft. But the Packers have made their position clear: they still want Rodgers.
Coach Matt LaFleur expressed his desire for Rodgers to return to Green Bay following the NFL draft, saying he “can’t fathom” the idea of Rodgers “not being in Green Bay.”
“I’ll always remain hopeful and optimistic, and certainly, we’ll always welcome him back with open arms,” LaFleur said, via ESPN. “He knows exactly how not only myself but our staff and our players feel about him. Like I said before, I just can’t imagine him not being in a Green Bay Packer uniform.”
LaFleur echoed the earlier comments from team president Mark Murphy and general manager Brian Gutekunst, who have also remained committed to having Rodgers remain the Packers’ long-term quarterback. A major part of Rodgers’ frustration is that Green Bay drafted Rodgers’ heir apparent Jordan Love last year — trading up in the first round to do so — without telling Rodgers.
Gutekunst said Thursday that not telling Rodgers of the decision to take Love could have been a mistake, saying, “maybe some of the communication issues we could have done better.”
Still, Gutekunst said the Packers aren’t considering a trade for Rodgers and are committed to Rodgers in 2021 and beyond. According to Yahoo Sports, a source in Rodgers’ camp said the 37-year-old quarterback’s relationship with the team could be repaired if Gutekunst is let go.
While Green Bay is insistent the franchise will not trade Rodgers, he could force the Packers’ hand. Rodgers could hold out of training camp, or the three-time MVP could choose to retire.
Rodgers is coming off a season in which he threw 4,299 yards with 48 touchdowns and five interceptions. Green Bay lost in the NFC Championship game, opting to kick a late field goal rather than keeping the ball in Rodgers’ hands — although chances were slim either way.
The Packers didn’t draft a quarterback this year, meaning Love would be Rodgers’ hypothetical stand-in, if the scenario comes to that. But the Packers don’t want to consider that a possibility, at least openly.
“I can’t fathom [him] not being in Green Bay,” LaFleur said. “That’s where my mind’s at. I don’t only love the player, but I love the person. I love working with him on a daily basis; I think we all do — from the players in that locker room to the coaching staff. Again, I don’t even want to let my mind go there.”