The absence of Aaron Rodgers at Tuesday’s OTA practice was expected. The Green Bay Packers and their future Hall of Fame quarterback are at odds this offseason and it has led to Rodgers reportedly telling the team he does not want to return. However, the absence of five of the team’s top six wide receivers was a surprise.
Davante Adams, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Allen Lazard, Equanimeous St. Brown and Devin Funchess were all missing from the 90-minute practice on Clarke Hinkle Field.
“I really don’t know,” coach Matt LaFleur said when asked if it was a coordinated decision to stay away. “I’ve had individual conversations with each guy but never once has that come up.”
This portion of the offseason is voluntary and a large number of players have stayed away around the NFL. But by not showing up Adams forfeited a $500,000 workout bonus and Funchess forfeited a $50,000 bonus. For Funchess and St. Brown, two guys that have not played a ton of football the last two years and figure to be in a battle for a job in training camp, the ability to get reps in the offense would seem invaluable.
Funchess opted out of last season due to COVID-19, but the other four guys combined for 188 receptions for 2,632 yards and 28 touchdowns. The players that ran routes for Jordan Love on his second day as the No. 1 quarterback — Amari Rodgers, Malik Taylor, Juwann Winfree, Bailey Gaither, Reggie Begelton and Chris Blair — have five catches combined in their careers.
“I think as a coach you always want as many guys that choose to show up here,” LaFleur said. “I think there’s a lot of team chemistry, which is so important in winning and losing in this league. Just learning how to play together, learning how to practice together, setting the standards for this football team. Certainly you’d love to have everybody here.”
Based on social media, Lazard was in Arizona training, while Valdes-Scantling was in Florida training and then joking around and catching passes from a young quarterback.