By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — A little more than a year ago, the NFL world was largely stunned to see Tom Brady — the GOAT — leave the Patriots and play for a new team for the first time in his career.READ MORE: Red Sox-Blue Jays Rained Out; Split Doubleheader Wednesday
And now it seems like the NFL world may indeed get turned on its head for a second straight year, with another all-time great quarterback in Aaron Rodgers seemingly having no plans to return to Green Bay.
While Rodgers’ discontent with the Packers organization has been a known issue for some time now, there was some hope and/or belief among fans that the two sides would smooth things over in time for training camp. ESPN’s Adam Schefter, speaking on his podcast this week, dumped a whole lot of cold water on any chances of Rodgers showing up to work on July 28.
“[Rodgers] very easily could have dismissed all the speculation that’s going on around him with a simple statement of, ‘I’ll see you at training camp,’ or ‘I’ll be there on opening day.’ And instead we haven’t gotten that. Because the fact of the matter is — the truth is — he doesn’t want to be in Green Bay. He hasn’t planned to be back in Green Bay.”
Lest it get confused, Schefter later reiterated: “The one thing I feel very comfortable and confident in saying is Aaron Rodgers does not want to play there anymore.”
Rodgers skipping out on OTAs and minicamp in order to take a Hawaiian vacation is one thing. Rodgers offering passive-aggressive statements in interviews, or glibly insulting the team’s field goal decision in the NFC Championship Game on “Jeopardy!” or really doing anything else that he did throughout the offseason still did not elevate matters to the highest concern level. But with just two weeks to go until training camp opens, it seems as though the Packers do indeed have a major problem on their hands.READ MORE: Zach Wilson Not Present As Jets Open Training Camp, As Rookie QB Has Yet To Sign Contract
Schefter said the Packers will certainly try to convince Rodgers to return to work in Green Bay, but that it likely won’t be a successful effort on the team’s part.
“Now we’ll see whether the Packers and him can come up with some sort of compromise that can lure him back there. But I don’t believe, and I think Aaron Rodgers knows this, that he wants to be back there nor plans to be back there at this time,” Schefter said. “He just hasn’t come out and said it. Look, the fact of the matter is, he loves his coaches, he loves his teammates, he loves many of the people that he’s worked with — but not everybody. And so this obviously continues to set up as the story line of the summer. We’ll see how the Packers handle it.”
Schefter added: “The question is whether [the Packers] can convince him to [return]. And I don’t know how that is going to work out.”
What might happen if Rodgers refuses to report to training camp isn’t yet known. The Packers could try to trade him, as a number of teams would certainly be willing to scrap their current plans at quarterback in favor of the reigning NFL MVP who is coming off a season with 48 touchdowns and five interceptions. But the Packers also wouldn’t necessarily be incentivized to trade Rodgers, considering they’d be under no obligation to do so and wouldn’t be able to utilize any acquired picks until next spring anyway.
But if Rodgers is fully committed to never again strapping on his yellow helmet, the Packers may make a move to end what is now clearly a spoiled relationship.MORE NEWS: Devin McCourty Praises Stephon Gilmore As A Top Cornerback In The NFL
And so, in the coming days and weeks, the football world will be left to sit back and watch what could be the second significant movement of a quarterback in as many years.