Rodgers: "Not going to say I was thrilled by the pick necessarily but I understand"
Not thrilled, surprised, understands......these are the words Aaron Rodgers used Friday in a conference call with reporters to describe his reaction to the Packers drafting of his potential successor in the first round, Jordan Love.
"It was more the surprise of the pick based on my own feelings of wanting to play into my 40's, and the realization that it does change the controllables a little bit," Rodgers said. "Because as much as I feel confident in my abilities in what I can accomplish and what we can accomplish, there are some new factors that are out of my control. And so my sincere desire to start and finish with the same organization, just as it has with many other players over the years, may not be a reality at this point. And as much as I understand the organization's future outlook and wanting to make sure they are thinking about the team now and down the line, and I respect that, at the same time I still believe in myself and have a strong desire to play into my 40's and I'm just not sure how that all works together at this point."
Until it's time for the decision to be made, Rodgers won't have any problems with Love as a backup. He will draw on what he learned being in Love's shoes 15 years ago with Brett Favre.
“I learned a lot over those years working with Brett, things that I can bring to the relationship with Jordan, and just understanding the mindset. I went through it as a young, 21-22-23-year old playing with my idol as a teammate. I will definitely take those lessons with me. And like I said before, I've always had great relationships with my backups and always loved helping those guys out in any way; the more questions they have the more answers I have, and I really, truly have embraced those relationships and it will be the same with Jordan. He didn't get asked to be drafted by the Packers, he's not to blame at all, he's just coming in excited about his opportunity. We had a great conversation the day after the draft, and I'm excited to work with him. He seems like a really good kid with a good head on his shoulders, similar story (as mine) not heavily recruited by colleges, kind of made his way to Utah State. We've had some good conversations.”
To hold off Love in a few years and finish his career in Green Bay, Rodgers knows he will have to play well. In 2019, Rodgers posted the 2nd best interception percentage in franchise history (he also has the top spot in that category), but also recorded his 2nd lowest completion percentage, and 3rd lowest passer rating as a starter. Maybe that is why some view the drafting of Love as a fire-starter for the 36-year old, 2-time MVP. “I've never really needed a ton of external motivation, you always maybe look for one or two things at different times of your career that maybe fire you up,” Rodgers said Friday. “For me, and I've said this at my locker many times, the main motivation is to be able to have consistent play as you get on in years. That's really my motivation is to give myself the opportunity to play as long as I want to play.”
2nd year head coach Matt LaFleur doesn’t see any need to motivate Rodgers. “I think he is very motivated and he doesn't need any external motivation. He's one of the most competitive people I've ever been around, you can see that competitiveness every time we step out on that field. So I don't think it is going to drive him any more than if we would have drafted somebody else.”