Green Bay, Wis. (WFRV) – The long offseason, which has been an exceptionally long one for the Packers, is finally over. Aaron Rodgers is back in Green Bay and training camp is officially underway this morning.
For general manager Brian Gutekunst, it’s been another tumultuous offseason. This one with plenty of drama with quarterback Aaron Rodgers wanting out of Green Bay, and even reportedly wanting the Packers’ GM fired.
“A lot of it is noise. It’s kind of part of this business. Like Ted (Thompson) used to say, ‘it’s part of the gig.’ If you want to sit in that chair, you have to be willing to sit in that chair so to speak. Since I’ve taken that chair after Ted stepped down in 2018, coaching change, COVID, this, it kind of seems like that’s part of the job. There’s always going to be curveballs and you’ve got to be ready for them,” said Brian Gutekunst.
This year’s curveball was the reigning MVP, who reported to camp on Tuesday and was on the field when the Packers held their first practice on Wednesday.
The two sides reportedly agreed to a deal that would void the last year of Rodgers’ contract with the Packers, and the team would reassess the situation again following the season. Gutekunst would not confirm what has been done to appease Rodgers or alter his contract.
One of the big issues raised as well was the amount of input Rodgers has on team personnel and decision making.
“Aaron has kind of the same input he’s always had, which has been a lot. He’s earned a place at the table, I think, he always has. I think one of the things from this offseason is learning how to incorporate that,” said Gutekunst.
There will of course be lessons to be learned from the past offseason. A big one of course is the communication between the front office and the players in the locker room, and that includes the leader of the Pack.
“What I will say one thing I will push back on, there’s a perception out there that we don’t treat our players well. That couldn’t be further from the truth. We’ve always treated our players well here. We have a lot of players here that have been here and nowhere else. There’s some of that, but I think we always put those guys first. Ted was adamant about that, and how we approach things, and that has carried on. I think there is sometimes perception and reality, and miscommunication, and stuff like that. I think if it’s anything it’s the communication part of it,” said Gutekunst.
The communication and talks over the past week helped get Rodgers to return to Green Bay for the start of training camp. While there may still be some issues that need to be addressed, the desire to win shared between organization and quarterback is a common bond heading into the 2021 season.
“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,” said Gutekunst.
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