GREEN BAY (Wis.) -- How can the Green Bay Packers be sure that Aaron Rodgers is in for the 2021 NFL Season, especially after all the drama caused by his unhappy relationship with the company?
Brian Gutekunst, general manager of the Packers, stated Wednesday that "he's here" shortly before the first practice of their training camp. "I don’t believe I’ve ever seen him come out on that field without being in all-in. That's something I have always believed. He's a competitor and a professional. He is a true competitor, he's a true professional. I have never seen anything else like him."
Rodgers arrived at Lambeau Field Tuesday morning in time to meet the veteran players' reporting deadline. He was also expected to participate in the opening practice. Rodgers skipped the entire offseason program, something he has never done before. He also gave up a $500,000 bonus for his workouts and missed the June mandatory minicamp.
ESPN's Adam Schefter reported Monday on the concessions that the Packers made to Rodgers. This ultimately led Rodgers back for a 17th year. They included a void in Rodgers' final year (2023), and an agreement to review Rodgers situation at the close of the 2021 season.
Gutekunst stated that Rodgers' contract has not been altered, but he added Wednesday that they were still "working through some things."
Matt LaFleur, Packers coach, stated that Rodgers was "quite frankly very uncertain" about whether the Packers would return this season. However, communication improved and "we got to a positive spot."
Gutekunst would not say that Rodgers could leave the Packers this season or whether he would trade for the league MVP, if that's what Rodgers wants.
Gutekunst stated, "What I will say, is that Aaron, with all he has done for this organization. I think he should at least have the conversation every year about what's going on, where he's heading and to get together and make decisions." Gutekunst stated that while the club will always decide what's best for Green Bay Packers, he believes he has the right to have these discussions.
Gutekunst was answering questions in the Lambeau Field media auditorium. On Tuesday, Randall Cobb, a veteran receiver and a longtime favourite of Rodgers, tweeted that he was "coming home". ESPN reported Tuesday that Cobb was expected to be traded to the Packers from Houston Texans.
Rodgers wanted Cobb to return to Green Bay. Gutekunst stated that Rodgers had always been involved in personnel decisions, despite being suggested otherwise. However, Gutekunst said it wasn’t always done the right way.
Gutekunst stated that Aaron has had "a lot of the same input as he's always had," Gutekunst added. He's earned a seat at the table. He has always done that, I believe. It is important to learn how to do that in this offseason, I believe.
Rodgers being back in the building, LaFleur evidently had his sense of humor restored.
LaFleur laughed when LaFleur was asked about the stress caused by the offseason.
He said, his tongue in his cheek, "I don’t know what your talking about", It's part and parcel of the business, " he said. ... I just had a lot of wine at the end of the night. This put me to bed.