Former Green Bay Packers head coach Mike Holmgren said Friday he never would have allowed the franchise's relationship with quarterback Aaron Rodgers to reach a breaking point.
"I can't imagine a relationship between the coach or management or whoever is making the decisions and a star quarterback like that getting to this point," Holmgren said. "I just can't imagine it. I wouldn't allow it. It wouldn't happen."
The 72-year-old three-time Super Bowl champion (one with Green Bay and two as an assistant with the San Francisco 49ers) said he would have started by having an honest conversation with Rodgers about the plan to draft fellow quarterback Jordan Love in the first round in 2020:
"With a franchise quarterback and a guy as good as Aaron—you don't treat all the players the same. You have a line that no one crosses, but I would call him in and say: 'Look, we're going to do this. This is how it's going to affect you.'
"'We've got to get ready for when you retire. We've got to kind of think of the franchise. But nothing's going to happen now. You're the man. You're the guy.'"
Holmgren added it's a "different world" now in terms of player empowerment than it was when the Niners traded for Steve Young in 1987 to become the heir apparent to Joe Montana.
ESPN's Adam Schefter reported last week that Rodgers, who wasn't informed by the Packers before they traded up to select Love, has "told some within the organization that he does not want to return to the team."
"We're not going to trade Aaron Rodgers," Green Bay general manager Brian Gutekunst told reporters following the first round of the 2021 draft last Thursday.
Rodgers is coming off a 2020 campaign after which he captured his third MVP Award for tallying a league-league 48 touchdown passes and just five interceptions.
For now, it sounds like the Packers are going to hold their ground and hope the franchise quarterback shows up when training camp starts. If they trade him, it could shift the NFL's balance of power.