Despite taking plenty of time to weigh his future with the team, Green Bay Packers star Aaron Rodgers left no doubt as to his level of commitment for the 2021 NFL season.
The nine-time Pro Bowler told former teammate James Jones on NFL Network his first day back "was a little strange" given everything that had transpired. He added that he's still "100 percent all-in."
“When I’m back here, I’m 100%, all in. You know me. You know what I’m all about.”<a href="https://twitter.com/AaronRodgers12?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@AaronRodgers12</a> with <a href="https://twitter.com/89JonesNTAF?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@89JonesNTAF</a> on his return to <a href="https://twitter.com/packers?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Packers</a> camp. 🧀 🔥 (via <a href="https://twitter.com/nflnetwork?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NFLNetwork</a>) <a href="https://t.co/BHdQnxfdQ7">pic.twitter.com/BHdQnxfdQ7</a>
Rodgers' return wasn't a foregone conclusion, with some oddsmakers briefly taking all Packers-related betting lines off the board in the belief would retire.
But ESPN's Adam Schefter reported on July 26 the Packers appeased the 37-year-old with some concessions in terms of his contract and more wide-ranging issues. In effect, it sets up a situation in which the two sides coexist for 2021 and perhaps go their own ways in 2022.
If last year is any indication, then Rodgers won't let the drama negatively impact his performance. It doesn't seem like a coincidence that he threw for 4,299 yards and an NFL-best 48 touchdowns after Green Bay traded up to select his heir apparent, Jordan Love, and didn't inform him it was planning to do so.
The upcoming campaign has the potential to be a win-win situation for Rodgers.
Any individual and team success he enjoys would to some extent be a rebuke of the franchise's apparent plan to phase him out and make Love the starter. It would also further encourage suitors to pay a steep price to acquire him next offseason.
The Athletic's Bob McGinn reported in May that Rodgers had compared Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst to Jerry Krause, the architect of the Chicago Bulls' dynasty who was widely loathed by key figures within the organization.
Rodgers and teammate Davante Adams also shared the same photo of Scottie Pippen and Michael Jordan on social media, implying they're embarking on a last dance of their own:
Friction between a star player(s) and the front office can create an unbridgeable divide at times. But those Bulls teams are an example of how a roster can also channel any anger toward an executive in a productive manner.
Rodgers may love nothing more than to lift the Vince Lombardi Trophy for a second time in Green Bay and then immediately bid adieu to the only franchise he has known in the NFL.