Some people around the Packers reportedly find Aaron Rodgers divisive and believe his ruthless handling of relationships has hurt the team
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David Kirouac/Icon Sportswire/Getty Images
- A new report reveals several people who work or have worked with the Green Bay Packers find Aaron Rodgers difficult and partially to blame for the team's recent struggles.
- According to the report, some blame Rodgers' handling of relationships, believing he freezes people out and never lets them back in.
- Some reportedly believe Rodgers' strained relationship with his family could be negatively affecting him.
- Others said Rodgers' tendency to hold onto grudges and obsess over criticism has negatively affected his leadership.
- Plenty of current and former Packers sources in the report stuck up for Rodgers.
Aaron Rodgers is widely regarded as the most talented quarterback in the NFL, but some around the Green Bay Packers believe the team has been adversely affected by his personality off the field.
In a deep dive on the Packers from Bleacher Report's Tyler Dunne, several former teammates, coaches, front office members, and friends described Rodgers as being tough to work with and manage.
According to people who spoke to Dunne, most of it comes from Rodgers' handling of relationships.
Rodgers famously has a strained relationship with his family. According to Dunne, some wonder if that damaged relationship has negatively affected his psyche. Ex-Packers head coach Mike McCarthy reportedly once suggested Rodgers call his mother, according to Dunne, but Rodgers did not listen.
"When you're out, you're out," a "former friend" told Dunne of Rodgers' handling of relationships.
Similarly, according to Dunne, some said Rodgers has a ruthless way of handling other players.
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Jennings recalled speaking to a San Francisco 49ers player about his contract year in 2012 when Rodgers told the 49ers player that they should sign Jennings in the offseason, offering few hints that it was a joke.
According to Jennings, when the offseason came, he never heard from Rodgers. Years later, when he returned to the Packers as a media member, Rodgers didn't speak to him.
According to Dunne, the issues have affected players on the roster. One scout said Rodgers used to "dog" former tight end Jeff Janis, for no apparent reason.
"Janis got into the doghouse really quick, and he just never let him out," the scout told Dunne. "He didn't even give the kid a chance."
According to Dunne, in 2018, rookie wide receivers Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Equanimeous St. Brown both ran into frustrations over whether to listen to McCarthy's play calls and Rodgers'. St. Brown sometimes listened to Rodgers, then got in trouble with McCarthy. Valdes-Scantling reportedly followed McCarthy's orders and saw his targets drop, believing Rodgers froze him out.
A source who was once close to Rodgers told Dunne: "Of course, it comes to a head, and what does he want to do? He wants to cut him out of his life, just like he cut his family out."
Some people around the team reportedly believe Rodgers' ego is driven by a tendency to hold onto grudges and use them to fuel his performances.
According to Dunne, Rodgers never got over McCarthy taking quarterback Alex Smith over Rodgers in the 2005 draft, when McCarthy was with the 49ers. Rodgers reportedly used to needle McCarthy over the decision.
Others said Rodgers listens to every negative piece of press and holds onto it, with one source telling Dunne that Rodgers is "real sensitive."
Reacting to the report on Friday, former NFL player Marcus Spears said on ESPN's "Get Up!": "There is a reoccurring theme in this conversation around Aaron Rodgers. Aaron Rodger is toxic. If it wasn't for his talent level, we would probably have a different view and conversation about Aaron Rodgers."
Not everyone agrees with the criticisms
Plenty of people who spoke to Dunne stuck up for Rodgers.
On over-riding McCarthy's offense, several sources who spoke to Dunne said McCarthy's offense was out-dated and unimaginative, and Rodgers had to freestyle to move the ball.
A former coach told Dunne: "You give a guy a green light to do whatever he wants and then criticize him for it. Which one do you want? Do you want him to be creative, or do you want him to be exactly what you tell him?"
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A former Packers personnel employee told Dunne that Rodgers is far from a bad guy - he's just "different."
Some people who spoke to Dunne said Rodgers might not be a natural leader and has struggled to fill the leadership void left by veteran players who departed in recent years. That seemingly has led to some bumps in the road, but some people who spoke to Dunne don't feel that Rodgers has bad intentions.
The Packers hired Matt LaFleur as their new head coach this offseason, reportedly without Rodgers' input. According to Dunne, the team wanted a young head coach who could challenge players, including Rodgers.
The results on the field and the resulting drama off it (or lack thereof) could go a long way in further shaping Rodgers' legacy and reputation.