Aaron Rodgers’ long-awaited response to Tyler Dunne’s Bleacher Report article is finally here. Many, myself included, thought that Rodgers would not comment on the article and instead focus on the upcoming season. However, Rodgers gave the fans what they wanted and responded to the bombshell article. Here are the highlights of Rodgers’ response.
Rodgers, appearing on ESPN’s Wilde and Tausche radio show, started by calling the article a “smear attack,” and called out Dunne for using him to advance his career. To be fair, he has a point. If you asked me a week ago who Tyler Dunne was I probably would have guessed a WWE wrestler solely based off of his name. Today; however, I can tell you that Tyler Dunne is a reporter who wrote one of the most talked about articles over the last few months. Dunne knew what agenda he was pushing when his main sources were Jermichael Finley, Greg Jennings, and “ anonymous.” Rogers jumped right in to set the tone for how he felt about this article.
Rodgers continued by firing back against the idea that he was not a strong leader for the Green Bay Packers. He said that the Packers would not offer him another long term contract if he was the problem the article said he was. Rodgers has a point; a $30 million per year contract is a high price for a weak leader. However, that not a high price for one of the best two quarterbacks in the NFL. If Matthew Stafford, Eli Manning, Derek Carr, and Jimmy Garoppolo all make at least $20 million per year, it makes a lot of sense that the Packers would offer Rodgers whatever he wanted to stay with the team. I understand what Rodgers is trying to say here, but the argument is weak at best.
Rodgers then disputed the statements about his poor relationship with Mike McCarthy. He again went to his contract as proof he has a good relationship with Mike McCarthy. His point was if he signed his contract and played well; McCarthy would still be his coach for as long as the team was successful. Clearly, the team did not perform up to par last season and McCarthy was fired, but that is not something that Rodgers anticipated when signing his contract. Both Rodgers and McCarthy, mentioned that their relationship had their issues in interviews with ESPN. They also said that these issues were normal for any 13-year relationship, and any issue was worked out between the two. Neither Rodgers or McCarthy went into detail on what issues they had, but both mentioned their strong respect for each other even after McCarthy was fired.
Rodgers did not let the sources off the hook either. He gave his thoughts on Finley, Jennings, and “anonymous sources.” Finley went on record for Dunne’s article calling Rodgers “self-entitled” and a “bad leader.” Rodgers was confused by Finley’s comments since he would spend his Saturday nights in his room going over plays, he visited him in the hospital after his career-ending neck injury, and followed up with him after his release from the hospital. I don’t blame Rodgers for being confused on why Finley has such ill-will towards him. I am sure during the course of the five seasons they played together they had some disagreements, but what teammates don’t? As for Greg Jennings, Rodgers just wants to know when he is going to move on from criticizing him. Rodgers mentions these two constantly calling him sensitive, a grudge holder, and petty, but they have been talking poorly about him and using the same stories for years. Finley has been out of the league for six years, and Jennings career faded after leaving the Packers. It is time to find a new hobby that does not include having interviews about their former quarterback.
The last key point Rodgers hit on was the idea that Murphy thought Rodgers could be a problem for his new coach Matt LaFleur. Rodgers mentioned that he called Packers President/CEO Mark Murphy after the article came out, and asked if he talked to anyone about their conversation. Murphy was quick to deny it by saying, “that’s ridiculous because that’s not what happened.” Rodgers also went on to say that he talked with both Murphy and General Manager Gutekunst before they hired Matt LaFleur. He was as excited about LaFleur as the Murphy and Gutekunst, and most importantly said he trusted their interview process and decision. As much as I want to believe that Rodgers was thrilled about this decision, he has to say this. Rodgers needs to support Matt Lafleur for the betterment of the Packers, so his true feelings will not be known. For all we know Rodgers could have wished the Packers went with McDaniels, but they didn’t, and he needs to be on board.
Overall, Rodgers made it very clear that the widely talked about B/R article was actually more of a biased article. I believe Rodgers handled this correctly with the right amount of class and sternness. He did not leave any room for questions on the big topics of that article and put it behind him. He answered the important questions and gave his thoughts on what Dunne wrote last week. For the two-time MVP and former Super Bowl Champion it is now time to focus on the upcoming season and to lead the Packers back to their winning ways.