Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers wasn’t present for the first day of organized team activities Monday, and his future with the team remains uncertain.
Rodgers confirmed in an ESPN interview that he wasn’t at Monday’s session. Although these OTAs are voluntary, Rodgers generally has participated in them in the past.
Rodgers’ decision to stay away comes amid reports that the reigning MVP wants out of Green Bay, where he has spent his entire NFL career. Rodgers was noncommittal about his future during his ESPN interview, but did detail some of his frustrations.
“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.”
ESPN reported in the hours before the draft that the three-time MVP doesn’t want to return to the Packers. Later that week, Packers CEO Mark Murphy wrote in a column posted on the Packers’ website that the team “is very much aware” of Rodgers’ concerns and that “this is an issue that we have been working on for several months.”
Murphy acknowledged in his column that he, general manager Brian Gutekunst and coach Matt LaFleur all had visited Rodgers on a number of occasions during this offseason.
Gutekunst has said the team has no plans to trade Rodgers, who has three years remaining on his contract. Packers officials have said they want to keep Rodgers in Green Bay in 2021 and beyond.
“We want him back in the worst way,” LaFleur said earlier this month during the team’s rookie minicamp. “I know he knows that and, you know, we’ll continue to work at it each and every day.”
Rodgers’ long-term future has been a subject of major speculation across the NFL ever since the Packers traded up four spots in the first round to select Utah State quarterback Jordan Love with the 26th overall pick in the 2020 draft.
The Packers didn’t notify Rodgers beforehand about their plans to select a quarterback in the first round. Rodgers said less than a month later that the Packers’ decision to draft Love surprised him and complicated his hopes of finishing his career in Green Bay.
“With my situation, look it’s never been about the draft pick, picking Jordan,” Rodgers told ESPN. “I love Jordan. He’s a great kid, a lot of fun to work together. Love the coaching staff, love my teammates, love the fan base in Green Bay. An incredible 16 years.
“It’s just kind of about a philosophy and maybe forgetting that it is about the people that make the thing go. It’s about character, it’s about culture, it’s about doing things the right way. A lot of this was put in motion last year and the wrench was just kind of thrown into it when I won MVP and played the way I played last year. This is just kind of, I think, a spill-out of all that. But it is about the people, and that’s the most important thing.”