“He’s here,” Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst said Wednesday, shortly before the team’s first practice of training camp. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen him be here and go out there on that field and not be in all-in. I’ve always been confident of that. He is a true competitor, he’s a true professional. When he steps between those white lines, I’ve really never seen anything other than that.”
Rodgers showed up at Lambeau Field on Tuesday in time for the veteran players’ reporting deadline and was expected to take part in the opening practice. He skipped the entire offseason program — something he’s never done before, and gave up a $500,000 workout bonus in the process — and also missed the mandatory minicamp in June.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Monday the concessions the Packers made to Rodgers, which ultimately lured him back for a 17th season. Among them were a void of the final year (2023) of his deal and an agreement to review Rodgers’ situation at the end of the 2021 season.
While Gutekunst said no alterations have been made to Rodgers’ contract — at least not yet — he said Wednesday they were still “working through some of those things.”
Packers coach Matt LaFleur said the Packers were “quite frankly very unsure” whether Rodgers would be back this season, but said communication progressed “and we got to a good spot.”
Gutekunst wouldn’t go so far as to say this could be Rodgers’ last go-round with the Packers or whether he would trade the reigning league MVP after the season — if that’s what the quarterback wants.
“What I will say is that I think Aaron, with what he’s done for this organization, I think he deserves at least the conversation every year about where we’re headed, where he’s headed and to get together, and we’ll make decisions,” Gutekunst said. “The club will always determine what’s best for the Green Bay Packers, but I think he’s earned the right to have those discussions.”
As Gutekunst was taking questions in the Lambeau Field media auditorium, veteran receiver Randall Cobb — a longtime favorite of Rodgers — tweeted that he’s “coming home.” A source told ESPN on Tuesday that Cobb expected to be traded back to the Packers from the Houston Texans.
I’M COMING HOME! 💚💛 pic.twitter.com/qxSwkQo89f
— Randall Cobb (@rcobb18) July 28, 2021
Rodgers reportedly wanted Cobb back in Green Bay; Gutekunst claimed Rodgers always had input in personnel decisions despite suggestions otherwise but said it wasn’t always handled the way it should have been.
“Aaron’s had kind of the same input he’s always had, which has been a lot,” Gutekunst said. “He’s earned a place at the table. I think he always has. I think one of the things to this offseason I think is learning how to incorporate that.”
With Rodgers back in the building, LaFleur’s sense of humor evidently returned as well.
When asked about the stress of the offseason, LaFleur joked there “was no stress.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he said, with his tongue firmly planted in his cheek. “No listen, it’s part of the business. … I just drank a lot of wine at night. That put me to sleep.”
Green Bay Packers GM confident Aaron Rodgers will be ‘all-in’ for 2021 NFL season
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