Rodgers Participates In Packers’ First Training-Camp Workout
GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Aaron Rodgers is working out with the Green Bay Packers in their first training camp session as the reigning MVP has at least temporarily put aside his issues with the team.
“I’m just really happy that he’s back in the building and part of this team,” Packers coach Matt LaFleur said before Wednesday’s practice. “With him, we feel like the sky’s the limit.”
Rodgers didn’t participate in organized team activities this spring — a change from his usual offseason routine — and skipped the Packers’ mandatory minicamp. Under terms of the collective bargaining agreement, the 37-year-old quarterback would have been subject to a $50,000 fine for every day he held out during camp.
A welcome-back gift for Aaron Rodgers: the Texans are trading former Packers’ WR Randall Cobb back to Green Bay, per Randall Cobb. Cobb has been a longtime favorite of Rodgers.
But this trade’s for Aaron.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) July 28, 2021
His future with the Packers had seemed tenuous after ESPN reported in the hours leading up to the draft that he didn’t want to return to Green Bay. Rodgers has spent his entire career with the Packers, who selected him with the 24th overall pick in the 2005 draft.
“You’re always planning and thinking about either scenario,” LaFleur said. “We were quite frankly very unsure. You have to have plans for whatever would happen.”
General manager Brian Gutekunst didn’t specify what conditions might have enabled Rodgers to report to camp and didn’t speculate on the three-time MVP’s long-term future with the team.
Rodgers is entering his 17th season with the Packers. ESPN reported Rodgers and the Packers were on the verge of a deal in which the team would void the final year of his contract, perhaps clearing the way for him to leave Green Bay after the upcoming season.
"Green Bay isn't a huge vacation destination, people are coming here to play with me… to play with our team"
– Aaron Rodgers pic.twitter.com/z99AsA8ZFN
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) July 28, 2021
“Right now, we’re just really focused on 2021,” Gutekunst told reporters. “It’s kind of a year-to-year business, as you guys know. Hopefully, we’ll have a really successful season and we’ll get to the other side of it and we’ll figure those things out. But right now we’re really focused on 2021, trying to put a little of this offseason behind us and move forward to the season.”
Gutekunst declined to specify what caused the resolution and simply indicated that “we’re working through some of those things.” Gutekunst said Rodgers would be involved in the team’s decision-making process, but added that’s not a change from how the Packers have operated in the past.
“Aaron’s had kind of the same input he’s always had, I think, 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.”
Yet one potential transaction could indicate an increased role for Rodgers.
“I love this team, I love the or—you know, the fans.”
Perhaps it was just a slip, but this felt like one of the more telling moments during Aaron Rodgers’ press conference. pic.twitter.com/MSHH6qRQYI
— Field Yates (@FieldYates) July 28, 2021
Veteran receiver Randall Cobb sent out a tweet Wednesday morning with the message “I’M COMING HOME!” along with a picture of himself in a Packers uniform. Cobb spent his first eight seasons catching passes from Rodgers in Green Bay before playing for Dallas in 2019 and Houston in 2020.
The Packers haven’t officially announced they’ve acquired Cobb. Gutekunst brushed aside any questions about Cobb because the move hasn’t been finalized.
“There will be a time for me to answer that question,” Gutekunst said. “Right now, he’s a member of the Houston Texans, and so I can’t talk about players on other teams. But there will be a time for that question.”
The return of Rodgers makes the Packers legitimate Super Bowl contenders again after they lost in the NFC championship game each of the last two seasons.
Rodgers threw for a league-high 48 touchdown passes with only five interceptions last season while helping the Packers lead the league in scoring. He also led the NFL in passer rating and completion percentage.