Former Green Bay Packers coach Mike Holmgren said his old team is to blame when it comes to the splintered relationship with franchise quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
“They didn’t handle it very well, I don’t think,” Holmgren said Friday during a radio appearance on the ”Carmen & Jurko” show for ESPN Chicago.
“It’s not good, that’s for sure,” Holmgren said of the current relationship between Rodgers and the Packers. “I can’t imagine a relationship between the coach or management or whoever is making the decisions and the starting quarterback like that getting to this point. I just can’t imagine it. I wouldn’t allow it. It wouldn’t happen. But now, it has happened.”
Rodgers, the reigning NFL MVP, is unhappy and wants to leave the Packers, according to multiple reports, with one report saying he will not return if general manager Brian Gutekunst remains in charge. The relationship fractured when the Packers selected quarterback Jordan Love in the first round of the 2020 draft — shortly before Rodgers’ eventual MVP campaign.
Holmgren said the Packers should have discussed drafting Love with Rodgers beforehand. Now, Holmgren said it’s gotten too far out of hand.
“I would call [Rodgers] in, we’d sit down and not leave until we kind of had an understanding one way or the other,” he said. “I would call him in [and say], ‘This is how it’s gonna affect you. We’ve got to get ready for when you retire. We’ve got to take care of the franchise, but nothing’s going to happen now. You’re the man, you’re the guy.’ Then, if he didn’t like that, now all of a sudden you’re in the current situation that you’re having.”
Holmgren related the Rodgers-Packers saga to the QB controversy he was part of as the San Francisco 49ers quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Veteran Joe Montana was the starter and up-and-comer Steve Young was challenging in 1988 before Montana won his third and fourth Super Bowl rings in 1988 and 1989.
Holmgren acknowledged that times have changed, but it was an example of riding out a Hall of Famer’s career while paving way for the future. Young helped the 49ers win it all in 1994 after Montana departed.
“[Former 49ers head coach] Bill Walsh didn’t tell Joe [Montana] they were bringing Steve Young in,” Holmgren said. “He just did it.”
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