Aaron Rodgers is willing to open up more than he was earlier in his career. Rodgers, who is entering his 16th NFL season, has been anything but shy when asked recently about his future in Green Bay after the team traded up to select quarterback Jordan Love during this year's draft. Rodgers recently opened up about previous criticism he has received from ex-teammates Greg Jennings and Jermichael Finley. Jennings, a receiver for the Packers from 2006-12, and Finley, who played tight end for the Packers from 2008-13, have been publicly critical of Rodgers in the years following their time in Green Bay.
Jennings, among other things, was upset at a joke Rodgers allegedly made about the 49ers signing him during Jennings' final season in Green Bay. Finley's criticism of Rodgers mostly revolved around the quarterback's leadership.
"I do not have a problem with either person," Rodgers said during an appearance on "The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz". "I really don't. I enjoyed playing with both guys. Greg was a fantastic player, and so was J-Mike. The physical giftedness of both those guys was phenomenal, and we had some incredible moments together. Greg caught two touchdowns in the Super Bowl, and J-Mike was on his way to a many Pro Bowl, All-Pro type of career in my opinion before his horrific neck injury."
Rogers is right as it relates to the ability of both players. Jennings, after initially enjoying success with Brett Favre during Favre's last two years in Green Bay, reached even greater heights with Rodgers as his quarterback. A Pro Bowler in 2010 and 2011, Jennings is top-10 in franchise history in receptions, receiving yards and touchdown receptions. His two touchdown catches in Super Bowl XLV – along with a key third-down catch late in the game -- helped propel the Packers to a 31-25 victory over the Steelers.
Finley, who arrived in Green Bay the same season when Rodgers began his run as Green Bay's starting quarterback, was an extremely productive player when healthy. In 2011, Finley set career highs with 55 receptions for 767 yards and eight touchdowns while helping the Packers become the sixth NFL team to win at least 15 regular season games.
Despite their success with him, Jennings and Finley clearly have unresolved issues with Rodgers, who believes that he knows the origins of their criticism.
"I think I see it clearly. There was some hurt, for sure," Rodgers said. "I don't have a problem with them. I just don't like it when other people get to kind of influence the narrative about me that I don't think are necessarily true."
While he isn't upset at his former teammates, Rodgers does take issue with how some of their quotes have been used by the media and, therefore, created a narrative about him that is not an accurate depiction of who he is.
"I think we're talking way too much about this at this point," Rodgers said. "I don't have a problem with either of those two guys … I think it should be more about truthful reporting than who needs to be first.
"I think opinions have become facts instead of the actual facts of the subject that we are talking about. I think that's a place in our society where we've gone where it's more important to voice your opinion than to do research and figure out what the facts and the situation are."
One thing that can't be disputed is Rodgers' willingness to open up more during this late stage of his career.
"I just think I said 'F it,' Rodgers said when asked why he has decided to open up more. "I was never a cliché guy … It's been fun to find opportunities to share more about my personality. I think there was some misnomers about me shared by folks that actually didn't know me very well. It's been nice to re-write some of those narratives."