As expected, Aaron Rodgers was not at the Green Bay Packers mandatory minicamp when it got underway late Tuesday morning. The future Hall of Fame quarterback remains at odds with the only franchise he’s played for and it was reported Monday that nothing has changed in his mind in regards to not wanting to play for them again.
With Rodgers a no-show, that left good friends and teammates — left tackle David Bakhtiari and wide receiver Davante Adams — to answer questions for him.
“Honestly, I’ve got no expectations, man. I’m just being supportive of my guy and let it all unfold how it does,” Adams said when asked if he thought Rodgers would eventually return to the team. “Obviously, I’m praying that he comes back. We all want him back. I think everybody in this building has the same mindset, but I can only control what I can. I can’t control anything that’s going on with that situation, so when or if he’s back, obviously we’ll welcome him with open arms.”
Bakhtiari and Adams are in a weird spot. They know, care and support Rodgers personally, but they also realize their chances of being successful as a team go up significantly if he decides to return.
“I care about Aaron Rodgers from a friend perspective. Whatever he wants to do, whatever the situation that comes out, I will never hold any grudge against him,” Bakhtiari said. “That is my friend. That is someone that I appreciated and he has done a lot for this organization and a lot for me as an individual. Now, as a teammate, I would be idiotic to say I don’t want the MVP back.”
The Packers could fine Rodgers $93,085 for not showing up for the only required part of the offseason, though coach Matt LaFleur would not share if the team would do so or not. He also repeated his position of the last few weeks that they are taking it day-by-day and still trying to find a way to remedy the situation with Rodgers.
“It is what it is, man,” LaFleur said when talking about Rodgers not being on the field. “We’ll focus and we’ll control and work on the guys that are here and try to help them become the best of their ability and coach the heck out of them.”
In Rodgers’ absence it was another heavy day of work for second-year quarterback Jordan Love. He took almost every rep during 11-on-11 drills, a rarity for any player at this point in the offseason.
“He needs every rep he can get right now. He’s a young quarterback that was not afforded a preseason last year so we’ll give him as many as he can handle,” LaFleur said. “I just think every rep he takes is so valuable, and you can learn something from both the good and the bad.”
The former first-round pick went 12-for-23 with most of the completions coming near the line of scrimmage. He appeared to struggle getting into any kind of rhythm and didn’t seem to always be on the same page with his receivers, some of whom he was working with for the first time since last summer.
“I think he’s doing a good job right now,” Adams said. “He’s locked in and I can see it. He may be a little bit nervous but that’s what comes with it. There’s a lot of responsibility, a lot of things on his plate, so he’s just got to have his mind right and be ready to go. I’m definitely letting those guys know, ‘look, whatever happens you know you’ll have our support. It’s not your fault you got thrusted into this situation,’ if that’s what happens. I’m always going to be here to be supportive of everybody on my team.”
While the Packers are working hard to get Love ready, the goal for everyone is to find a way to get the three-time MVP back and to make another run at getting a second Super Bowl trophy in the Rodgers’ era.
“The moment he gets back, which I’m praying for, and I think we all are, we’ll get right back to it like we were before,” Adams said.