With the Green Bay Packers struggling to find an identity on offense and win games, everyone is looking for answers as to why the team isn't up to its usual standards. Inevitably the fingers get pointed at quarterback Aaron Rodgers, the face of the franchise and one of the most gifted humans to ever throw a football.
In a compelling piece at Bleacher Report, Ty Dunne took a look at Rodgers' struggles from an off-field perspective, talking to current and former teammates about the quarterback. Many of them said nice things but Jermichael Finley, a former tight end with the Packers, did not.
Finley flat out said Rodgers "wasn't put on Earth to lead."
"In my opinion, he's a different guy," Finley said. "I didn't really know how he showed his leadership. He wasn't a vocal guy. He really wasn't a hands-on guy. To tell you the truth, it was all about his game and his stats in my opinion. ... He was a guy that kept it all in. He kept grudges close to his chest. If you did something, he never really let it go. He always kept it close to his heart.
"I just don't think he was a natural-born leader. He wasn't put on Earth to lead."
Finley wasn't finished there, either. He also said Rodgers "is so scared" of various players and "goes into his little shell" when things go wrong before calling Rodgers "self-centered." Yikes.
"But Aaron Rodgers is so scared of what guys are going to say that he doesn't say nothing at all," Finley said. "He doesn't get vocal. He goes into his little shell. He's not a guy who hangs out with the fellas. He's real self-centered."
Finley put his name on these criticisms of Rodgers, but not everyone in Dunne's story did. An anonymous source "close to the quarterback" called the Packers superstar a "f---ing head case" who is "so arrogant and prideful that he thinks he can separate his personal life from his professional life."
The full, scorched-earth quote from Dunne's article:
"There's no explanation for him playing any worse," said the source, who wished to speak under the condition of anonymity. "People are trying to figure it out. He's a f--king head case. He knows he's doing the wrong thing, and he's so arrogant and prideful that he thinks he can separate his personal life from his professional life, even though all of us know that's impossible. You can't do that. You can do that in little spurts, like when Brett Favre went out and played amazingly when he loses his Dad. But when you're talking about real situations that aren't all of a sudden circumstantial and you f--k over good people, people you're supposed to love, it's a s--tty thing to do and you're going to get humbled.
"You can't live like that, man. The people who live like that end up getting f--ked over. That's kind of what's happening here, but he's so prideful and will never admit he's wrong. Ever."
Again, there are a lot of people in the piece who compliment Rodgers as a person, as a player and as a teammate.
But there are some aggressive quotes about Rodgers in there that paint a different picture than one might think -- the family stuff is obviously a private matter, but in light of the comments from his brother on The Bachelor this offseason and Rodgers' response, it at least raises questions.
It's also a reminder that when things start going poorly in the NFL, people are a lot more eager to pile on than when things are going well.