Aaron Rodgers’ long, dramatic split from the Packers was uglier than it looked.
Less than a year after Green Bay selected Jordan Love in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft to be Rodgers’ successor at quarterback, Rodgers’ agent, David Dunn, called Packers president Mark Murphy and demanded that he either trade his client or fire him in general, according to The Athletic, the manager. Brian Gutkunst.
Rodgers declined to grant the request in an interview with The Athletic, which said Dunn did not respond to a request for comment.
The request reportedly came as early as the 2021 NFL Draft, when reports surfaced that Rodgers wanted out of Green Bay, which finally happened last month when he was shipped to the Jets.
But 2021 has seen tensions rise between the team’s longtime quarterback and decision-makers, with Rodgers publicly calling for the elite to improve the organization’s culture and communicate better.
Rodgers told The Athletic that Ross Paul, the Packers’ vice president and director of football operations, was the only person in the front office working to improve those areas.
After winning his second consecutive MVP award in 2021, Rodgers was granted a three-year, $150 million contract extension, even with love waiting in the wings.
Rodgers then skipped the Packers’ voluntary OTAs.
The Athletic reported that the team’s coppers were not “satisfied with Rodgers’ commitment and effort” following the contract he was awarded.
“When I’m all in, do you want to ride with the off-season workouts?” Rodgers told the outlet. “I won MVP without doing an offseason workout. Like, was my commitment any less? I wouldn’t say no at all. The way I get back to work, not only in good shape physically but refreshed mentally, is the best thing for me to get through the season that I wanted to have during those in Green Bay.
“I think this is just a quote written to try to find something to disparage me about that, honestly, when you know what casual workouts really are, it’s absolutely ridiculous.”
Rodgers and Gutkunst had agreed to meet in Southern California four months earlier when Gutkunst was traveling to the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl, but it never happened, and Rodgers told The Athletic there was never an exact date or time for the meeting.
Rodgers said Gutekunst texted him one morning and that he responded either that night or the next morning, and by that time, the general manager was already out of town.
As he did when introduced by the Jets last month, Rodgers cited limited cellular service at his home in SoCal when responding to allegations made by Gutekunst that he unsuccessfully tried to reach Rodgers “many times” during the offseason.
Rodgers said he reached out to Gutkunst before the darkness receded, saying the two should meet with coach Matt Lafleur.
“I have zero or one par at home, so call me — sometimes it passes, most of the time it drops and doesn’t pass,” Rodgers told The Athletic. “Everyone who knows me, when I’m out west, they know that’s how they catch me. So you can say what you want about that, but that’s the whole truth.”
Rodgers then admitted to the outlet that Gutekunst was texting him more often than the other way around, which is ironic given Rodgers’ 2021 request for better communication from the organization.
“Did Brian text me more than I texted him? Yes, but did he ghost him? No,” Rodgers said. “I texted him again. There have been intermittent and we have So this is the story you want to take on? You’re going to stand on this hill of austerity and say that in arguably the best player in your franchise history conversation, you’re going to say I couldn’t control him and that’s why we had to move on?
Like, come on, man. Just tell the truth, I wanted to move on. You didn’t like the fact that we didn’t communicate all the time. Like, listen, I talk to the people that I love.”
Dunn called Jets GM Joe Douglas on the night of March 12 to inform him that Rodgers wanted to continue his career and play for the Jets, which led to six weeks of on and off trade negotiations.
On March 15, Rodgers announced to the world on “The Pat McAfee Show” that his intention was to play for the Jets.
Rodgers, 39, has been in attendance at the Jets OTAs.