LIVE BLOG: Aaron Rodgers speaks to media after return to Green Bay, first practice of camp

Packers

Green Bay Packers’ quarterback Aaron Rodgers passes during NFL football training camp Wednesday, July 28, 2021, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Matt Ludtke)

Green Bay, Wis. (WFRV) – After an offseason full of drama, quarterback Aaron Rodgers returned to Green Bay this week ahead of training camp. The reigning MVP met with the media after the first practice.

Follow below for updates from Rodgers first press conference of training camp.

What was this all about for you? Kind of a loaded question. I think it was a lot of things that transpired. This wasn’t a draft day thing. Started the conversation in February after the season ended. Expressed my desire to have input on my career, how outgoing veterans are treated, and how we didn’t retain players that were high character guys who contributed to the organization. Guys who were exceptional players for us but high character guys who weren’t retained, given contract they deserved. Kind of progressed from there to commitment to the 2021 season and beyond. Didn’t want to be lame duck quarterback, which you can understand. Wanting to involved in conversations about free agents, wanted to offer my services as a recruiter.

We all understand Green Bay isn’t a vacation destination, and guys wanted to play with me and win a championship. I wanted to be able to receipt and be part of the conversation. Got into March and the conversation changed as I felt like if you can’t commit to me past 2021, if I’m not a part of the future, instead of being a lame duck quarterback and you want to make a change, then go ahead and do it.

There was a part of me that thought after the season that there would be conversation about an extension, but there wasn’t a conversation until May. I said it wasn’t about the money, and the way that felt, nothing really changed over the summer. I was really working on myself. At various points I wondered if I wanted to keep playing, but I wanted to be part of the team.

On Randall Cobb: Obviously I’m excited about Randall coming back. He’s part of that group of guys I talked about earlier. To get Randall back is really special. It’s something that I talked about back in February about bringing back a tire slot receiver, and I think Randall is a dynamic player.

Thoughts about retirement: It was definitely something I thought about. This was the first time to spend the offseason away, and I enjoyed it. I spent the time working on myself and bettering myself in different ways. There’s still a big hole in my body I need to fill. As I got back to workouts I knew I can still play, I wanted to play, and as long as I can give 100 percent to the team I should stilll play.

Rodgers: I’m going to focus on this season. There’s a lot of expiring contracts. I’m going to enjoy this year and revisit the conversation after the year.

Do you want to be here: I do. I love my teammates. I love the city. it is a lot of fun to be back here. I’m competitive. This is a team that has a lot of talent on it. I’ve had a lot of great conversations with a lot of teammates that have refueled the fire. I felt good being back out there. I feel really good about being back.

Relationship with Brian Gutekunst and was there a point where you asked for him to be fired: No and I’d say it’s professional.

Remaining silent during the offseason: I believe there’s a lot said with silence. I felt handling things behind closed doors was the right way to do it. There were some leaks for sure. I can promise you I didn’t have a part of that. I don’t know what benefit would be for me to leak stuff about contracts, or leak things on draft day. I felt the best way to handle things was in person, on zoom. Didn’t want to handle things in public about a team I really care about.

Why do you want to be involved in personnel decisions? I respect the question. I understand I’m here because Ted Thompson took a shot on me. You can’t compare the two situations. I just want to be involved. I think I have a unique perspective. There aren’t a lot of people that have been in a position of influence as I have in this building. I just want to be in the conversation. How they look at certain players, do they look at character and how they are in the locker room. Rodgers mentioned guys who could have been mentors to younger players, like Jordy Nelson and Charles Woodson, who were willing to take pay cuts to stay in Green Bay.

Inspired. I do have a unique perspective on things. As I talked to other players around the league. As you get older you see the disfunction in the organization, and you either want to stay and help or leave. That’s what I wanted to do, I love this team. To help foster a culture of inclusion it helps you win. It’s the people that twin championship, and everyone in the organization benefits from that.

Do you still see a path where you can see finishing your career in Green Bay: I’m definitely not closing the door on anything. I’m always optimistic about the ability to change. I wouldn’t want anyone to give up on me. I’m always going to be optimistic about change being possible. True motivation comes from within, but people have to be willing to make those changes.

What does it mean to you to be the quarterback of the Green Bay Packers? It’s still an honor. Still something I’m very proud off. I saw something bout Favre and Starr only playing 16, and it’s my 17th season. It’s been fun to be part of the change and how things have gotten better. This has always been a special thing for me, and I’m thankful to be back here for a 14th season.

How do you prevent it from being an us versus them mentality? I’ve seen over 16 years how different things motivate guys. I’m not worried about guys who have contracts that run out, guys like MVS, Davante, Tonyan, I know they’ll be motivated. It’s about the staff getting ready for the season. This is what training camp is about, and we’ll get at it the best we can.

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