Aaron Rodgers wasn’t with the Green Bay Packers for their first mandatory minicamp session Tuesday, the latest chapter in the standoff between the team and their MVP quarterback.
Rodgers also hadn’t participated in the Packers’ voluntary organized team activities, which represented change from his usual offseason routine. The Packers have the option to fine Rodgers just over $93,000 if he misses all three minicamp sessions this week.
The three-time MVP has spent his entire career with the Packers, who selected him with the 24th overall pick in the 2005 draft. But his future with the team has been uncertain ever since ESPN reported in the hours leading up to this year’s draft that Rodgers doesn’t want to return to Green Bay. Rodgers was noncommittal about his future in an ESPN interview that aired on 24 May but did discuss his frustrations with the organization.
“I think sometimes people forget what really makes an organization,” Rodgers said. “History is important, the legacy of so many people who’ve come before you. But the people, that’s the most important thing. People make an organization. People make a business, and sometimes that gets forgotten. Culture is built brick by brick, the foundation of it by the people, not by the organization, not by the building, not by the corporation. It’s built by the people.”
While Rodgers wasn’t at at Tuesday’s practice , the Packers did have their top five receivers all present. Those receivers, a group headed by All-Pro selection Davante Adams, had sat out the OTA sessions.
The Packers are seeking to take the next step after losing in the NFC championship game each of the last two seasons, but the uncertainty surrounding Rodgers’ future has dominated offseason discussions.
Packers coach Matt LaFleur and general manager Brian Gutekunst have both said they want Rodgers back. Gutekunst has said he won’t trade Rodgers, who has three years left on his contract.
Packers CEO Mark Murphy noted in a monthly column posted on Saturday on the team’s website that the issue has divided the team’s fan base. Also in the column, Murphy replied to a letter critical of Gutekunst by expressing support for the general manager.
“We remain committed to resolving things with Aaron and want him to be our quarterback in 2021 and beyond,” Murphy said as he reiterated comments he’d made in a column a month earlier. “We are working to resolve the situation and realize that the less both sides say publicly, the better.”