Aaron Rodgers Rumors: Packers 'Encouraged' by Comments from QB's Former Teammates

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVMay 15, 2021

GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN - JANUARY 24: Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers warms up before the NFC Championship game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Lambeau Field on January 24, 2021 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
Dylan Buell/Getty Images

The Green Bay Packers are reportedly "encouraged" by recent comments made by some of quarterback Aaron Rodgers' former teammates.

According to ESPN's Jeremy Fowler on SportsCenter, the Packers are hopeful that former fullback John Kuhn and wide receiver James Jones, who both keep in touch with Rodgers, are right about the situation between the quarterback and Green Bay being fixable.

ESPN's Adam Schefter reported last month that Rodgers told some within the organization that he no longer wanted to play for the Packers. Among the reported reasons for his unhappiness was the fact that Green Bay selected quarterback Jordan Love in the first round of the 2020 NFL draft without consulting him first.

Kuhn, who played alongside Rodgers from 2007 to 2015, appeared last week on CBS Sports Radio's The Zach Gelb Show (h/t ESPN's Rob Demovsky) and referenced a recent discussion he had with the reigning NFL MVP:

"He's conflicted because this man loves to play the game of football, this man loves to be a Green Bay Packer and this man truly sees careers. He's watched friends leave, he watched Brett Favre's career toward the end. He's watched all these things play out in front of his eyes; he's taken notes throughout his career. He's seen some situations that didn't feel were done or finished the way that they could or should have."

Kuhn added that his gut feeling is that there is a 70 percent or 75 percent chance that Rodgers is the Packers' starting quarterback in 2021.

Jones, who was one of Rodgers' favorite targets from 2007 to 2013 and again in 2015, also addressed the Rodgers-Packers situation recently.

Per NFL.com's Nick Shook, James appeared on NFL Network's NFL Now last week and said:

"I speak with Aaron all the time. I talk to him a lot and it has nothing to do about getting the GM fired. It has nothing to do about getting a new contract and getting money. Everything that Aaron Rodgers has done since he's been a Green Bay Packer, this is not him, he's not a guy that's going to go out there and leak all this stuff and say he wants out of there and be giving all this stuff to the media. That's never been him.

"So, whoever leaked this or whoever's coming out saying that, as a friend of Aaron Rodgers, I can say that it's not him. And it's never been him to do anything like that. So, when the organization side of it comes into place and you talk about him and the GM and the head coach working together, I think it's fixable, I think they'll be able to get that stuff done. But I think that's what it's about."

Jones referenced the idea that Rodgers wants the Packers to fire general manager Brian Gutekunst, which is a rumor that was first reported by Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports.

Jones suggested that Rodgers isn't demanding a pay rise or that Gutekunst get fired, although Fowler suggested Saturday that the Packers could add a signing bonus to the three years and $80 million left on Rodgers' contract in an effort to appease him.

Fowler also said that the Packers have given Rodgers "no indications" that they plan to trade him, which is consistent with what Gutekunst and team president Mark Murphy have said publicly.

Rodgers is coming off arguably the best season of his career, as he completed 70.7 percent of his passes for 4,299 yards, 48 touchdowns and five interceptions en route to being named NFL MVP for the third time in his career.

Also, the Packers have gone 13-3 and reached the NFC Championship Game in each of the past two seasons, and losing Rodgers could be a major step back in their progress toward reaching and winning the Super Bowl.

If the Packers remain steadfast in their assertion that they will not trade Rodgers, it could come down to the 37-year-old either settling his differences and playing for Green Bay in 2021 or holding out and potentially even retiring.