All throughout this offseason, Aaron Rodgers was unafraid to make his unhappiness with the Green Bay Packers organization known in various ways. Whether it was doing interviews at golf tournaments or going on conspicuously-timed vacations, Rodgers made clear that he was not happy with the way the organization handled its succession plan, nor with how relatively uninvolved he was in the decision-making process when it came to adding talent around him.
There was plenty of trade speculation surrounding Rodgers, and in recent weeks, even speculation that he would sit out the season rather than play another year in Green Bay. Of course, none of that happened. The Packers and Rodgers came to an agreement on a reworked contract earlier this week and he agreed to show up to training camp.
On Wednesday, Rodgers had his first media availability of camp, and he began with a long, winding series of answers that detailed exactly why he was so frustrated with Green Bay's front office, what he wanted out of his partnership with the organization, whether or not he considered retirement, and what he thinks will happen in the future.
Rodgers made clear that although his reported trade demand leaked on the day of the 2021 NFL Draft, the rift between him and the front office did not begin on draft day. "This wasn't a draft day thing," he said. "It started with a conversation in February. I just expressed my desire to be involved in conversations directly affecting my job."
Specifically, Rodgers wanted to be involved in free-agent recruitment and also decisions about which wide receivers would make the roster, like other great quarterbacks have been afforded the opportunity to do over the years.
"I can be used as a pseudo-consultant because I know this place," he said. "When you're a quarterback, you hear a lot of [stuff].... It's the people that get it done, and I just want to be a part of people decisions."
Rodgers noted that Green Bay is "not a vacation destination" and that players come to the team to play with him. He also criticized the Packers' decision to cut wide receiver Jake Kumerow last offseason, after Rodgers said he was the second-best wide receiver during training camp.
"Maybe run it by me and I can change your mind," Rodgers said of the Kumerow decision.
Rodgers also indicated that he did indeed contemplate retirement this offseason due to his various frustrations with the organization, which included what he described as "low-ball" offers to veteran free agents over the years, causing them to leave the team. Rodgers did make clear, however, that his frustrations were not about his money.
"I'm not a victim," he said. "I've been paid a ton of money by this organization. I don't feel like anything's been done to me. It's a business. It's a tough business too, though. This is part of it."
Regarding his reworked contract, Rodgers said he was not given assurances that he could pick his next destination if he remains frustrated with the organization following the 2021 season. He also said that he would not rule out finishing his career in Green Bay.
"I'm definitely not closing the door on anything," he said. "I'm always optimistic in the ability to change. I'd never want anyone to give up on me."
However, he does feel like the Packers tried to make him a lame duck quarterback by trading up for Jordan Love without his knowledge in 2020, and by not consulting him on the hiring of Matt LaFleur. "If I'm not a part of the future, then go ahead and do it," he said.
Rodgers also drew a direct comparison between himself and his predecessor, Brett Favre -- who also had an acrimonious end to his time in Green Bay -- if only to say that the two should not be compared because of the level at which Rodgers is still playing.
All that said, however, Rodgers noted that despite his misgivings, he would not be in Packers camp if he were not 100 percent all-in for the 2021 season. That, at least, had to be music to the ears of the Packers organization and its fans, considering the talent level of their roster and the success they had last year.