Packers' Rodgers: Relationship With GM 'Work In Progress'

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Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers said his relationship with general manager Brian Gutekunst is a work in progress, but he has nothing but affection for the man Gutekunst drafted as his possible replacement: backup Jordan Love.

Rodgers returned to the Packers last week, reporting on time for training camp after an offseason in which he made clear he was unhappy with the organization. The three-time MVP skipped Green Bay’s organized team activities and mandatory minicamp, and he acknowledged he doesnt know whether he will be back with Green Bay next season, saying he just wants to focus on this year.

Love took the majority of reps at minicamp and likely would have been the Packers’ starter this season if Rodgers hadn’t returned, a situation for which Rodgers has some sympathy. Rodgers did his part by staying in touch with his understudy.

I didnt hold things from him, Rodgers said Wednesday. I let him know where I was at mentally and what I was thinking about. And hopefully he appreciated that. I just felt thats what I would want in that situation, just to hear from the guy.

As for Gutekunst, the conversation hasn’t always flowed as freely, but Rodgers said their recent communication has been positive.

Relationships arent formed in a matter of a couple days, Rodgers said. Theres time where the respect grows and the communication follows. I think the greatest relationships that you have with your friends and loved ones involved conversation and flow. You can not talk to a close friend for a few months and pick up right where you left off. Theres no break in communication, theres no forced conversations or youve got to hit this person up because its on your to-do list that day.

Its all about wanting to have those conversations and wanting to be in conversation like that, and weve had a couple conversations, and theyve been positive conversations.

Both men last week used the word professional to describe their relationship.

The 37-year-old Rodgers said last week that his concerns included wanting to have a voice in the Packers decision-making process and believing the organization didnt treat departing high-character veterans with enough respect. He also had expressed an interest in helping the Packers recruit free agents.

Those words had an immediate an impact when the Packers brought back one of Rodgers’ former favorite targets, Randall Cobb, a move Gutekunst said he wouldn’t have made without Rodgers’ input.

On the practice field, Rodgers has looked like himself, without obvious signs of rust. He is coming off an MVP season in which he threw a league-high 48 touchdown passes with only five interceptions. He led the NFL in passer rating and completion percentage while directing the NFL’s highest-scoring offense.

I mean, hes the best in the game, receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling said. Its Aaron Rodgers. Theres no other way to put it.

Rodgers’ consistent excellence notwithstanding, the Packers drafted Love in the first round of the 2020 draft, a surprising move that contributed to the rift between Rodgers and the team.

Because of the uncertainty surrounding Rodgers, Love has no way of knowing when or if he’ll take over as the Packers’ starter.

Rodgers has been there. He spent three seasons backing up Brett Favre, who spent two consecutive offseasons pondering retirement, before taking over in 2008.

Theres a love and an appreciation and a friendship there, just like it was with me and Brett, Rodgers said. So I wanted to make sure I checked in with him and let him know I was thinking about him. That was important for me and its not going to change. I have a lot of respect and love for Jordan, and I understand its got to be tough what he went through.

I went through it for two years in the offseason, going in 06 and 07, I was the guy the entire offseason, going through quarterback school, going through most of the OTAs, taking all the reps, and then here comes Favrey coming back and obviously Im back on the bench. Thankfully I went through that, and I can understand a little bit about what hes going through, so I just try to keep that in mind the entire time.

NOTES: Coach Matt LaFleur said linebacker Kamal Martin suffered a slight injury during Tuesdays practice but said the 2020 fifth-round pick from Minnesota will be OK. Martin played inside linebacker last season, but the Packers have been experimenting with him at outside linebacker following an injury to Randy Ramsey.

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