After three weeks to ponder his public response to the Green Bay Packers drafting his successor, Aaron Rodgers has spoken about the addition of Jordan Love.
He’s not thrilled. He is pragmatic. And he sounds like he’s resigned to finishing his career somewhere that’s not Green Bay.
Speaking on a conference call with reporters on Friday, the veteran Packers quarterback addressed the Packers’ selection of Love with a first-round pick in April’s draft. It was the first time he spoke about the decision in public.
‘Surprise, like many people’
“The general reaction at first was surprise, like many people,” Rodgers told reporters. “Not gonna say that I was thrilled by the pick, necessarily. But I understand the organization is not thinking just about the present but the future, and I respect that.”
Rodgers, 36, is coming off his eighth Pro Bowl selection. The two-time league MVP and Super Bowl champion led the Packers to a 13-3 record and the NFC championship game last season. The Packers made it that far despite significant holes on the roster, most notably at wide receiver.
Davante Adams is the only player to eclipse 500 receiving yards last season on a Packers team that has regularly failed to assemble high-end skill-position talent around its future Hall of Fame quarterback. In a draft with the deepest wide receiver class in recent memory, the Packers traded up in the first round to select Love, who will be a backup quarterback on a win-now roster.
‘There’s other guys that have ... played elsewhere’
Rodgers declined to stir the pot about Green Bay failing to add in impact player in the first round, saying he likes “where we’re at” roster-wise. He did talk about what the selection means for his future in Green Bay. He acknowledged that it may result in a change of scenery before he retires.
“My sincere desire to start and finish with the same organization, just as it has with many other players over the years, may not be a reality at this point,” Rodgers said. “And as much as I understand the organization’s future outlook and wanting to make sure they’re thinking about the team now and down the line — and I respect that — at the same time I still believe in myself and I have a strong desire to play into my 40s.
“I’m just not sure how that all works together at this point. ... If there comes a time where I feel like I can still play at a high level and my body feels great, you know, then there’s other guys that have gone on and played elsewhere.”
Rodgers taking things in stride
Rodgers has seen the other side of this equation, having watched Brett Favre from the bench for three seasons for taking his job. He understands the game.
But in terms of the present and immediate future, he continued to put on a good face, anticipating a good working relationship with Love.
“I’ve had great relationships over the years with (my backup quarterbacks) and I’d expect that same type of relationship with Jordan,” Rodgers said. “You know again, he didn't get asked to be drafted by the Packers. There’s nothing, you know, he’s not to blame at all.”
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