Never in my 40 years of watching the game have I ever seen anything – or anyone like Aaron Rodgers.
Not only has he not become good for the Green Bay Packers, but he has become bad for the game of football.
The things he had to say on ESPN were outrageous. This is not about “an organizational philosophy that has gone awry,” it is a very sad case of a punch-drunk quarterback who has gone AWOL.
Since the time he walked off the field when the Packers’ lost the NFC Championship game against Tampa Bay, what Rodgers has had to say has been extremely detrimental to the well-being of the organization.
GM Brian Gutekunst did not and does not need to apologize to Rodgers or anyone else for “not better communicating,” with Rodgers when he decided to draft QB Jordan Love. Gutekunst does not owe Rodgers or anyone an explanation. Gutekunst is the GM. That is his job to build the team anyway he sees fit. Gutekunst is Rodgers’ boss and it was not unreasonable for him to draft a QB for the future, especially when considering Rodgers’ age. It was in fact smart and it was the responsible thing to do – and I would like to suggest any GM in that position would have done the same thing. To even suggest or remotely hint at the possibility of Gutekunst being dismissed as the team’s GM over all this, is downright ridiculous. Since taking over as the club’s GM in 2018, Gutekunst has led the Packers to two-straight NFC Championship games. If anyone has been holding back the team from reclaiming the trophy named after their famed former head coach, Vince Lombardi, it is not Gutekunst, it is Rodgers.
The more I hear Rodgers talk in fact – the more I am convinced of it.
The Packers and the NFL need to send a very clear message to Rodgers, who has once again tried to hijack the Packers organization, this time on ESPN. It is time for Packers’ GM Brian Gutekunst to put Rodgers on waivers and it is time for the rest of the league to let him clear waivers.
The June 1 rule allows teams that get rid of a player to spread out the cap hit to this season and next when releasing that player. Whatever the cap hit is, it will be well worth it to unload Rodgers and get him out of the team’s locker room. It is like the old saying in life, “If you loan someone $20 and they never repay you, it’s the best $20 you can spend.” Whatever the cap hit, it will be well worth it for the Packers’ to get their team back into working order.
Running a team is about evaluating talent, but it is also about managing it. If I were a GM, I would not trade for nor would I claim a 37-year old QB who goes on a glorified infomercial to try to power play an organization right in front of my eyes. I saw this exact same type of thing play out in Washington two years ago when offensive tackle Trent Williams manipulated a trade to San Francisco, and all having that cancer in the locker-room resulted in was a 6-10 record there last season.
The one thing Rodgers was right about when he was venting on ESPN was that it is about “doing things the right way.” Unfortunately, however, what Rodgers defines as “the right way,” and what that phrase really means are two different things. Doing things “the right way,” is about respecting organizational structure and authority. Doing things “the right way,” is about not using the national media to air his grievances when he is under contract. Doing things “the right way,” is about honoring that contract that he agreed to and doing things “the right way” is not about trying to get his team’s GM fired when all he has done is build a winner. In fact, “doing things the right way,” is the exact polar opposite of the way Rodgers has handled any of this.
Because let’s bottom line this thing and let’s call this for what this really is. This is nothing more than a temper-tantrum from a QB playing on borrowed time. He is basically pissed off that the team did not ask his permission or for his blessing when they drafted his replacement.
Sure, it was all fun and games when he got to take over for “Favrey” as he affectionately refers to the guy he could not wait to replace, but now it is not as cute for Rodgers when the proverbial shoe is on the other foot.
And despite Rodgers’ token attempt to “smooth things over,” with the Packers’ fan base last night (by professing his supposed love for the fan base he now is trying to screw over by placing his own self interest over the best interest of the team), I would be pissed off if I were a Packers’ fan. In fact, I would never put on a Rodgers jersey again if I were a Packers’ fan. Despite Rodgers’ gross attempt to appeal to the legendary history of this storied franchise to support his side of things, his conduct this off-season has not been Packers’ football. All that really was on ESPN – was one last ditch strategic, overt and extremely manipulative attempt to win everyone over and get the GM fired – and basically get his way.
That is anything but leadership and I do not know about you, but that is anything but the type of guy I want on my team.
Daniel Kelly is a former NFL scout with the New York Jets. He was hired on the regime which featured Bill Parcells, Bill Belichick, Scott Pioli, Mike Tannenbaum and Dick Haley. He currently writes for Sports Illustrated Detroit Lions and he is a contributing evaluator for Draft Diamonds. For more information about him visit his website at whateverittakesbook.com. He can be followed on Twitter @danielkellybook and his Facebook page is WHATEVER IT TAKES NFL TALK.