Things can change quickly in a year.
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers returned to the team for training camp after an offseason full of speculation about his future and discontent with the franchise that became public. Things were so fractured, that Rodgers was already making plans for a post-Packers future.
“Last year at this time, I was looking at the season as my last year in Green Bay,” Rodgers told NBC Sports.
Rodgers’ has been open about his issues with the Packers front office and has lobbied in recent weeks to have some former players brought back to the organization, such as receiver Randall Cobb, a close friend of Rodgers’ whom the team traded for July 28.
Rodgers served as the guest host of the TV game show Jeopardy! but skipped all of the team’s offseason workout program.
Now, as Rodgers is practicing with the team after he and the organization restructured his contract, the relationship between both sides seems to have thawed. In a revealing press conference to open training camp, Rodgers spoke about his disagreement with many organizational decisions, specifically referencing his relationship with general manager Brian Gutekunst.
“The other one (Gutekunst), you know, I leave space and optimism for growth and change,” Rodgers told NBC. “But, you know, at this point, my focus is just on the football staff and making sure those conversations and communication are right going into the season.”
Rodgers has said that he is focused solely on winning another Super Bowl in Green Bay this season. That was part of the message he delivered to the rest of the team in a speech he gave after he broke the team down following the first practice of the season.
“I can’t remember the exact words,” Rodgers said, “but I said your thoughts are becoming real things. I talked about a positive mindset. I did want to assure the guys how special it was to be back, how committed I am to the team, how special the relationships are to me, how focused I am on this season and accomplishing all of our goals. But I talk a lot about positivity, about a mindset, about manifestation, about embracing the journey. That stuff that’s really important to me. Be present. This is a great time in our lives.”
Rodgers, 37, is entering his 17th season in the NFL and just won the NFL’s MVP award. He completed 70.7% of his throws for 4,299 yards with 48 touchdowns and just five interceptions.
“I really do love it,” Rodgers said. “Otherwise, I wouldn’t have come back. I’ve got so many other things that I love and I’m passionate about. I love competing. I love practice, still. I’ve had a really good camp. Last year I felt like I started a little slow and then something clicked. I’ve actually had a really good camp here. I feel good about where I’m at. ...
“I think a lot of how I’ve felt is perspective. Perspective leads to a lot of the happiness in your life. If we’re looking for things to be upset about or pissed off about, I’m sure we can find them in our own life. If we’re looking for what we don’t have, I’m sure we can find it. But if we can focus on the thing we do have and the things we’re grateful for, then every day can be a little more special than the last because you realize how great of an opportunity we have.”
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