Sun, 24 Oct 2021

Teammates defend no-show Aaron Rodgers at Packers minicamp

Field Level Media
09 Jun 2021, 10:05 GMT+10

Those holding out hope for a resolution to the Aaron Rodgers standoff with the Green Bay Packers are out of luck.

Rodgers is not present at the team's mandatory minicamp, which began Tuesday morning with team meetings.

The 37-year-old quarterback is entangled in a tense holdout he said is tied to the team's management of the roster and communication with the front office.

Rodgers has told members of the organization he wants a trade and will not play in Green Bay again.

But team president Mark Murphy and general manager Brian Gutekunst insist there's no trade coming for the reigning NFL MVP, despite inquiries from multiple teams, including the San Francisco 49ers and Denver Broncos.

Green Bay coach Matt LaFleur said all he can do is coach the players who show up.

"You'd love everybody to be here," LaFleur said. "It is what it is, man, and we'll focus and we'll control and work on the guys that are here and try to help them become the best to their ability and coach the heck out of them."

Packers receiver Davante Adams and offensive tackle David Bakhtiari weren't timid about the situation. Both players made it clear they stand firmly behind Rodgers.

"I've got his back through everything so he knows that, at the end of the day, if there's ever a wonder if he's lost a teammate or something because of all that's come out, he knows where I stand," said Adams, a four-time Pro Bowl selection who led the NFL with 18 touchdowns catches last season. "I'll stand on the (bleeping) mountain and scream on the mountaintop that I've got his back."

Bakhtiari, a three-time Pro Bowl selection, is a close friend of Rodgers. He attended last month's Kentucky Derby with his longtime teammate.

"For me, I care about Aaron Rodgers from a friend perspective," Bakhtiari said. "Whatever he wants to do, whatever the situation that comes out, I will never hold any grudge against him. That is my friend. That is someone that I have appreciated, and he has done a lot for this organization and a lot for me as an individual.

"Now, as a teammate I would be idiotic to say that I don't want the MVP back. He's the MVP of the league last year. He's done amazing things as from the quarterback perspective, our quarterback position, but not only for the franchise. So absolutely."

With Rodgers staying away -- he's been training in California and recently vacationed in Hawaii -- the Packers are using 2020 first-round pick Jordan Love at quarterback with the first-team offense.

Love experienced some rough spots on Tuesday, particularly with his accuracy.

"He needs every rep he can get right now," LaFleur said of Love. "He's a young quarterback that was not afforded a preseason last year, and so we'll give him as many (snaps) as he can handle. We'll spell him every now and again, but I just think every rep that he takes is so valuable, and he can learn something from both the good and the bad."

If he sticks to his holdout stance or retires, Rodgers has a base salary of $14.7 million in 2021 he'd forfeit. He could also be forced to pay back previously earned bonuses.

Because the minicamp is mandatory, Rodgers is subject up to $93,805 in fines if he misses the entire three-day camp.

Four Green Bay players are being held out due to COVID-19 protocols: linebackers Preston Smith and Za'Darius Smith, guard Elgton Jenkins and defensive end Dean Lowry.

--Field Level Media

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