The Green Bay Packers are still unsure if Aaron Rodgers will show up for training camp at the end of next month, but at least one of his veteran teammates seems to think his standoff is having an impact on the locker room dynamic.
While taking an updated look at where Rodgers’ situation stood heading into mandatory minicamp this week, NFL insider Tyler Dunne wrote about the shift in the Packers’ “team dynamic” that has begun to take place in the absence of the NFL’s reigning MVP and quoted an anonymous source — a current veteran player with the team — who sounds fed up with being left in suspense.
Here’s what the Packers insider wrote for Go Long with Tyler Dunne:
Players want to know what in the hell the plan is for 2021.
Players want some direction.
One veteran that spoke to Go Long on the condition of anonymity was blunt. He also does not expect Rodgers to show up by training camp and knows he’s not alone in wanting to see some decisiveness out of the franchise.
“We need to say, ‘F*** it, let’s go’ or he’s here,” says this player. “We don’t have time to be waiting around. We’re six weeks from training camp. How much longer are we waiting?”
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Veteran Believes Rodgers Would Retire — If Necessary
“How much longer?” certainly seems like the appropriate question for everyone invested in the Rodgers-Packers situation to ask. The two sides won’t be forced together again until July 27 when players are required to report to Green Bay, which means it could be a quiet seven weeks leading up to Rodgers’ next opportunity to hold out of mandatory team activities. It is always possible a resolution is reached before then and fans’ minds are put at ease for the upcoming season, but there’s no telling where their game of chicken will end at this point.
The Packers would seem to hold more of the cards in terms of negotiations. Sure, Rodgers is coming off an MVP season and would drastically alter the Packers’ plans for the 2021 season, but he is also under contract for another three seasons and basically faces only a few choices if the Packers hold firm in not trading him. Either Rodgers can report and attempt to make the most out of his situation or he can choose to retire and sit on the sidelines while paying back about $23 million over the next two years if his decision doesn’t change.
Considering the penalties, Rodgers’ retirement might not seem plausible. The Packers would also retain control over his contract if he decided to unretire down the line. If Rodgers is truly committed to never playing another snap for the Packers and is content to end his NFL career to prove his point, though, there are those — including Dunne’s play source — who believe he could pull out the nuclear option.
“I don’t think that’s his first choice,” the anonymous veteran told Dunne, “but I don’t see him just biting the bullet.”
Other Veterans ‘Praying’ for Rodgers Returns
Now, it’s understandable if some Packers fans don’t want to read too much into what Dunne writes. He infamously wrote the Bleacher Report expose on the downfall of Rodgers and Mike McCarthy back in April 2019 that drew some harsh criticisms from the quarterback and did not sit well with many of Rodgers’ faithful supporters.
Some fans also just have no interest in hearing what anonymous sources have to say; though, it is important to understand that anonymity is usually given so that a player or coach or whoever can give an authentic response to a situation that, otherwise, would land them in hot water professionally.
For the crowd more interested in hearing what people are willing to say in the public, Davante Adams and David Bakhtiari — two Packers veterans who are close with Rodgers — both made clear they are ready to welcome Rodgers back “with open arms” if and when he returns.
“Honestly, I’ve got no expectations, man,” Adams said Tuesday. “I’m just being supportive of my guy and let it all unfold how it does. Obviously, I’m praying that he comes back. We all want him back. I think everybody in this building has that same mindset.
“When and if he’s back, obviously we’ll welcome him with open arms.”