Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has been busy of late, recently granting one-on-one interviews with several local media outlets during the offseason.
If you're a devout follower of the Packers, maybe you've read some or all of these interviews already. But in an effort to provide a service to our readers, I've attempted to pick out one of the most noteworthy items from each of his recent sitdowns in the order they were published.
As the face of the franchise and the highest-paid player in the entire NFL (in terms of average salary), it's always notable what Rodgers has to say.
Going back to his interview with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on June 11, Rodgers reflected on his past, specifically when he took over the starting reigns from Brett Favre.
The Packers quarterback compared the criticism he received during training camp in 2008 to the ovation he received this past season when coming back onto the field after breaking his collarbone in a November game against the Bears.
The '08 summer was a difficult one, as Brett was trying to get back into the mix and some of the comments that I heard or saw, you know, were hurtful. I never held that against the fans because there was such a small percentage and the fans are so loyal they just want to see a winning product on the field. As difficult as that season was to get through, to have a moment like that at the end of the '08 season and then to also have a moment on the field this past season, that kind of outpouring of love is what makes this game so special. And more than that, it's what makes this organization and this city, this franchise so special. There's a direct connection between the fans and the players. And they love their football, they love their Packers. I'm proud to be one of them.
It's definitely night and day from the summer of '08 to the summer of '14, but a Super Bowl championship, league MVP, three straight division crowns and five consecutive playoff appearances will do that. Rodgers' entire career hasn't been written yet, but it's safe to say he's been embraced by Packers fans.
During an interview with the Green Bay Press-Gazette on June 12, Rodgers lent some perspective into his relationship with head coach Mike McCarthy.
According to Rodgers:
I think it’s been a real good relationship. There have been some ups and downs, but our downs are never really that low and our ups are usually pretty amazing as far as our continuity. I think right now we’re in a real good place. We’re both I think at a good stage in our careers where we’re comfortable with our success, comfortable with each other’s personality. I think it really helped that we started meeting Super Bowl year, we started just being intentional about the time we spent together and our relationship has grown from there. We have a good friendship off the field. It’s gotten better working together. He does a good job of delegating when he needs to but I found myself just wanting him to be more connected the last couple years to the quarterback room because he is calling the plays and he’s responded to that well. But I think we’re in a good place and I think we see the team and the scheme and the progression of this offense the same way.
Some people might want to point to a televised disagreement between McCarthy and Rodgers about play-calling this past season (Week 3 at Cincinnati) as a sign of discontent, but that wouldn't appear to be the case.
While Rodgers has shown signs of wanting input into the play-calling, he's shown very much to have a healthy working relationship with McCarthy.
As part of an interview with ESPNWisconsin.com, Rodgers shared some insight into his relationship with actress Olivia Munn in specific and his private life becoming part of the public eye in general.
For one, I’m real happy in my relationship. And I understand what comes with it. And two, the last couple years I’ve learned a lot about perspective and what’s important. And, that you cannot, when you’ve had success individually and collectively as a team and you are highlighted for the things you’ve done on the field and off the field, you cannot hide from the spotlight. You have to learn to embrace it. I think it’s a process for me.
I think it really took a while for me – and you still work through it – to get to a comfort level with that. But finally, you say, ‘You know what? It comes with the territory.’ It’s not what I signed up for. I signed up to play football, because I love it, and have as long as I can remember – watching the Niners on TV as a kid with my family to watching my favorite players and following them in high school and college and becoming a professional. This is what I always wanted to do. You don’t realize what all comes with it at times, but I think on some level, you have to embrace that. And the older you get, you focus on the things that are most important, and you learn to deal with or embrace the things that are more difficult.
Rodgers definitely seems comfortable in his own skin. Obviously he wasn't taking precautions to stay away from paparazzi photographers in recent photographs with his celebrity girlfriend. However, maybe it's just me, but there's still a small degree of guardedness with his personal life, displaying a reluctancy to mention Munn by name.
Finally, Rodgers continued with the "public eye" theme in an interview with ESPN.com as it relates to Cleveland Browns quarterback and first round draft choice Johnny Manziel.
His talent speaks for itself, but you know what, I think he has kept the right attitude through all of this. He's a young guy doing what young guys do, and he's enjoying life. He's had some opportunities to do some pretty cool things -- sitting courtside at games and whatnot -- but he can't control the people taking pictures of him. He can't control the people wanting to be around him. He can control where he's at, and I'm sure he learned a little more about some of the reaction he's going to get when he does go to Vegas or whatnot.
But he's on his off time. He's on a weekend in Vegas when he doesn't have to be at the facility. He should feel comfortable doing exactly what he wants to do, and I don't think he's done anything wrong.
Manziel is young, and as long as he stays out of trouble with the law, he has yet to do any irrepairable damage and arguably, any damage at all. But Manziel could learn a thing or two from Rodgers about how to conduct yourself in a public setting.
Photo: Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers during an offseason practice by Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports.
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