Aaron Rodgers Says He Considered Retirement, Talks Frustrations with Packers, More

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVJuly 28, 2021

ASHWAUBENON, WISCONSIN - JULY 28:  Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers works out during training camp at Ray Nitschke Field on July 28, 2021 in Ashwaubenon, Wisconsin. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers addressed the media at training camp Wednesday and revealed that he considered retiring before deciding to report to the team.

According to ProFootballTalk, Rodgers said retirement was "definitely something I thought about" amid rumors that he was unhappy with the organization and no longer wanted to play in Green Bay.

Rodgers also discussed some of the issues he had with the Packers, including their reluctance to make him a part of big organizational decisions.

Per ESPN's Jeff Darlington, Rodgers said: "The organization looks at me like I'm just a player. In my opinion … it should tie myself to more input."

Rodgers has committed to playing for the Packers in 2021, but his future with the team remains uncertain beyond that.

A report regarding Rodgers' frustrations with the Packers first surfaced on Night 1 of the 2021 NFL draft, courtesy of ESPN's Adam Schefter.

According to NFL Network's Mike Garafolo, Rodgers said he expressed his issues to the Packers well before that: "This wasn't a draft day thing. It started with a conversation in February. I just expressed my desire to be involved in conversations directly affecting my job."

Rodgers said he was not consulted before the hiring of Matt LaFleur as head coach or the selection of quarterback Jordan Love in the first round of the 2020 NFL draft, although he has gone on record many times regarding how much he likes both of them.

The 37-year-old veteran took particular offense to the organization's treatment of some other players during his time in Green Bay.

Per Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Rodgers said the Packers failed to retain "great locker room guys" and didn't give them "the respect their high stature deserved."

Rodgers even named some of those players, including defensive end Julius Peppers, safety Charles Woodson, wide receivers Jordy Nelson and James Jones, and guard T.J. Lang, according to Silverstein.

Garafolo noted that Rodgers also expressed dissatisfaction with the Packers not utilizing him more as a recruiter in free agency. Rodgers said Green Bay isn't a "vacation destination" and feels he could help attract more high-profile players.

The Packers did make a move Wednesday in an apparent effort to appease Rodgers, reportedly acquiring former Green Bay wide receiver Randall Cobb from the Houston Texans.

There has been speculation regarding Rodgers having some disdain for Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst, but on Wednesday, he said they have a "professional" relationship, per Darlington.

On Monday, Schefter reported the Packers made several concessions in an effort to get Rodgers to report to the team and play in 2021. Among them were promising to address Rodgers' issues with the team and essentially agreeing to work with him on a potential trade at the end of the season if he still isn't happy.

In terms of his future with the Packers beyond 2021, Darlington noted that Rodgers said: "There’s going to be a lot of tough decisions at the end of this year. I'm just going to focus on enjoying this year."

Rodgers didn't rule out the possibility of staying with the Packers past 2021, though, per Darlington: "I'm definitely not closing the door on anything. I'm always going to be optimistic in change being possible. You can motivate people—but you can inspire people. People have to be willing to make those changes."

According to Mark Maske of the Washington Post, Rodgers also tried to make it clear that he hasn't been victimized by the Packers, saying: "I'm not a victim here at all. I just want to reiterate that. I've been paid a ton of money by this organization. ... It's a business."

At one point during the press conference, Rodgers also said he loved the team and its fans, although he seemingly stopped himself from saying he loved the organization:

Field Yates @FieldYates

“I love this team, I love the or—you know, the fans.” <br><br>Perhaps it was just a slip, but this felt like one of the more telling moments during Aaron Rodgers’ press conference. <a href="https://t.co/MSHH6qRQYI">pic.twitter.com/MSHH6qRQYI</a>

It is obvious Rodgers and the Packers still have plenty to work through, but Green Bay has at least succeeded in bringing back the reigning NFL MVP.

Rodgers is set to enter his 17th NFL season with the Packers, and they are once again a Super Bowl threat due to his presence.

The Packers have gone 13-3 and reached the NFC Championship Game in each of the past two seasons, and if he comes anywhere close to his production of 4,299 yards, 48 touchdowns and five interceptions from a year ago, Green Bay will be a tough out in 2021.

Based on Rodgers' comments, though, the Packers may only have one more opportunity to win a Super Bowl with him under center, which increases the sense of urgency significantly this season.