As they say when promoting combat sports, the card is subject to change.
That’s the case with Aaron Rodgers, who last year at this time wanted out from the Green Bay Packers, but now wishes to retire in the green-and-gold.
“Yes, definitely,” Rodgers told reporters on Tuesday, when asked if that’s the case. He added, with a twinkle in his eye, “Unless they trade me.”
The 38-year-old didn’t seem to hide his unhappiness with the Packers front office last season, fueling speculation he could leave the franchise that drafted him with the No. 24 pick in 2005. Then came a three-year, $150 million contract extension this spring.
What changed with Rodgers was the channels of communication. He spoke Tuesday about having “very direct conversations” with Packers president Mark Murphy, GM Brian Gutekunst and salary cap specialist Russ Ball.
“I haven’t shied away from conflict during my time here because I feel like it leads to resolution that is positive for the organization and everybody involved,” Rodgers said.
“I’m not saying it was hand-to-hand combat, but it was just some real serious heart-to-hearts. As someone who loves this franchise so much, I felt it was important to share my opinions on some things about how this place can continue to improve and get better long after I’m done.”
He said that talks led the relationship to change.
“It wasn’t like when you’re in a relationship and your partner is telling you that you’re causing all the problems,” Rodgers said, speaking through a smirk. “That wasn’t what I was doing. It was a lot of issues and potential solutions, and I’m very proud to be a part of the solution.”
In the wake of these uncomfortable conversations, the Packers front office has kept Rodgers in the loop in their decision-making processes with the NFL Draft and free agency, and at least for the time being the bridges have been fully reconstructed.