GREEN BAY, Wisconsin – Aaron Rodgers spoke about the importance of keeping in touch with Jordan Love during his off-season absence from the Green Bay Packers, and said he and coach Matt LaFleur picked up where they were last year quit and announced that receiver Randall Cobb has moved in with him after last week’s trade.
However, when it came to General Manager Brian Gutekunst – a man he has known longer than any of the above – he called their relationship a “work in progress, sure”.
Gutekunst and the Packers front office carried the brunt when Rodgers finally voiced his grievances on his return to the team last week. After a week’s training camp, Rodgers and Gutekunst were seen talking to each other for several minutes at least once during training.
“Relationships are not forged within a few days,” said Rodgers on Wednesday from Gutekunst, who has been managing director since 2018 and has been on the Packers scouting team since 1998. “There is a time when respect grows and communication follows. Think that the best relationships you have with your friends and loved ones are associated with conversation and flow. You can’t talk to a close friend for a few months and pick up where you left off. There is no break in communication, there are no forced conversations, or you need to approach this person because they are on your to-do list that day.
“It’s about having these conversations and being in a conversation like that, and we had a few conversations and they were positive conversations.”
Jordan Love served as QB1 while Rodgers skipped the entire offseason program. It was a role Rodgers played during the off-season when he was Brett Favre’s backup and the Packers allowed Favre to skip the off-season.
But in those cases, Rodgers knew Favre would return to play – at least until Favre retired in 2008 (and then didn’t retire). Rodgers said these experiences with and without Favre “shaped the direction of my career” and called the three seasons he backed up “an important period of growth for me.”
In this case, no one really knew what Rodgers was going to do.
Rodgers said he was trying to put himself in Love’s shoes.
“And then I just stretched out my hand; I stretched out several times [to] look after him [and] See how he’s doing, ”Rodgers said. “I didn’t withhold anything from him. I let him know where I was mentally and what I was thinking about. And hopefully he appreciated that.
“I just felt like that’s what I want to just hear from the guy in this situation. Also, there’s a love and an appreciation and a friendship there, just like me and Brett. So I wanted to make sure that I checked in with him and let him know that I am thinking of him. “
From the start, Rodgers said his beef with the Packers wasn’t personal to Love. All the signs showed that he took his mentorship seriously.
“I have a lot of respect and love for Jordan and I understand that what he’s been through has to be tough,” Rodgers said. “I did it offseason for two years, in ’06 and ’07, I was the guy all offseason, went through quarterback school, got through most of the OTAs, did all the reps, and then comes Favrey Er comes back – and of course I’m back on the bench. Luckily I’ve been through that and can understand a little bit what he’s going through, so I just try to keep this in mind all the time. “
LaFleur said last week that he, offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett and passing game coordinator Luke Getsy need to inform Rodgers of the changes they have made to the offense and Rodgers believes it went smoothly.
“There are always things I want to veto, but I’ve learned to choose my battles,” Rodgers said. “The great thing about the relationship between Matt and me and Hack and Getsy is the fantastic lines of communication. We always talk through things and I think we just understand each other a little bit.”
It seems to have started right where it left off with Rodgers’ MVP game from last year. He was sharp from the start of camp, despite having no receivers when training at home in Southern California – he said he actually threw at some NBA players, including Davion Mitchell and Al Harrington who work out at his gym – to no one surprised .
“No, no. I mean, it’s Aaron Rodgers,” said Packers receiver Allen Lazard. “He’s not a quarterback, he’s a professional ball thrower.”
He’s also a professional host, at least until Cobb’s family returns to Green Bay from the Houston Texans after last week’s deal – which Rodgers staged -.
“He was fun hanging out before he moves out of my house and the wife and kids come,” Rodgers said. “We’ve had a good time talking about ball and life catching up in the last week or so.”