Green Bay Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst met with the media Wednesday morning to discuss the offseason drama — and eventual resolution — with quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Here’s some of what Gutekunst had to say:
Q: Does Rodgers now have say when it comes to personnel?
A: No, I think, you know, Aaron’s had kind of the same input he’s always had, I think, which has been a lot. 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.
Q: What’s your relationship like with Rodgers?
A: Professional. It’s always been a very professional relationship. I think our goals are the same, trying to get this team to win a championship.
Q: When did you think Rodgers would return?
A: I was always hopeful for a resolution and I always believed he would be here for camp and on time. I never really thought that would be any different. Obviously there was a lot of work that went through that, but as far as the hopeful part about it, I was always hopeful. We became kind of confident as the last week rolled on.
Q: What was the resolution?
A: Well I think obviously to get him back here playing and going to compete for a championship in 2021. That was kind of the resolution. And I think we’re working through some things, too, to get to that point. But there was a lot of communication between Aaron and his representatives all summer to kind of get to where we are now. So we feel good about it and I think obviously we have a very good football team. We’re excited to get out there today and start to prepare for this ’21 season.
Q: Why were you optimistic?
A: Because I think our goals were the same. You know, we want to win a championship here with the Green Bay Packers. I think that’s, you know, I think we have a very good football team. I think our team knows that. I think the players on our team know that and I think the goals for that are the same.
Q: Has he signed a revised contract?
A: We’re working through some of those things. Nothing’s been done differently to anybody’s contract. And I don’t really talk about the details, but nothing’s been done.
Q: How do you convince Rodgers to play here in 2022?
A: I think winning is the most important thing, right? I mean that’s the No. 1 thing, and I think, again, it talks a little bit about the communication part, I think, and incorporating (it). When we make decisions — whether it’s personnel, whether it’s Matt and his coaching staff, whether it’s Mark and some of the things he’s doing – I think there’s a lot of opinions, there’s a lot of different angles certainly from personnel. I’ve got medical, I got salary cap, coaching, scouting, all that kind of stuff I think it’s just kind of continuing to incorporate those things with Aaron. I think he’s earned that seat at the table to have a voice. He always has had a voice I think it’s just kind of incorporating that
Q: Won’t this be a distraction all season?
A: I think it’s on all of us to make sure that it doesn’t. I think we’ve tried to forever around here to keep the team first. It’s about the team, it’s not about individuals and I think the offseason can be a little bit of silly season from that point of view, but once we get back into this building, it’s time to put personal things behind us, and focus on the team. I think I’m confident that our guys can do that.
Q: What makes you think Rodgers will be “all-in”?
A: He’s here. 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.
Q: Has Rodgers asked for a trade in 2022?
A: I’ll just say this: Right now, there’s some contractual things that we have not done. As we go through that, I’ll talk about it a little bit more. 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. 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.
Q: What about (coach) Matt LaFleur gives you confidence he can handle this situation?
A: It’s important to him. He’s kind of a relentless communicator. I think it’s one thing, if it gets to the point where it becomes a problem, his staff does a great job with that. Again, the staff we’ve surrounded our players with and the different players we’ve brought in, too, I just think the character of the team and the way Matt handles it, I think we’re going to be able to handle the obstacles that are thrown our way.