In what was one of the more shockingly open and honest press conferences in recent memory, Aaron Rodgers met with the media on Wednesday and shared his grievances of the past few years against the Green Bay Packers.
Plenty of moments from Rodgers’ tell-all have been covered in depth to relay his feelings about the organization, specifically the quarterback’s crafted word choice throughout the media session and the casual slips as seen in the tweet below.
“I love this team, I love the or—you know, the fans.”
Perhaps it was just a slip, but this felt like one of the more telling moments during Aaron Rodgers’ press conference. pic.twitter.com/MSHH6qRQYI
— Field Yates (@FieldYates) July 28, 2021
However, for as many moments in which Rodgers’ frustration was expressed in words, there were a great number of times in which Rodgers’ body language and facial expressions in response to questions painted a very telling picture of how he feels heading into this season and beyond. With the help of the full broadcast provided in the tweet at the conclusion of this article, here are a few of those specific moments that stood out.
12:50 – 14:10: “Respected”
At this point in the presser, Rodgers was explaining his desire to be included in the conversation regarding decisions with the roster that affect him, and how he had earned the opportunity through his play and sheer volume of experience with the franchise to do so.
Without mentioning him by name, Rodgers alluded to the decision to part ways with wide receiver Jake Kumerow as a singular instance in which he would have hoped to have a say. As Rodgers’ tone began to shift about having the opportunity to change the organization’s mind, he also began to shoulder shrug while emphasizing the word “conversation” with an assertive hand gesture toward the podium. He finished off the moment with a grimace and then a crinkled face to say that being able to talk with decision-makers would be a way of feeling that one is “important” and “respected.” From there, Rodgers’ sighs and head shakes would only further signify that the necessary change from the front office to win him over has yet to be seen.
Even leading into the next question, Rodgers’ dismay with the lack of progress in terms of becoming more involved could be felt. After being told by one member of the media that his requests seemed reasonable and asked if he was given any indication that he would be given any of those conditions, Rodgers just smirked, paused, and said that he was not sure at this point. Sometimes, a grin from Rodgers can tell one all they need to know.
17:45 – 18:00: Brian Gutekunst
It was inevitable that Rodgers was going to face a direct question about General Manager Brian Gutekunst at some point during a revealing press conference. Asked word-for-word if he had asked for Gutekunst’s removal during the offseason and to characterize the duo’s relationship, Rodgers was short. In fact, it was one of Rodgers’ two shortest answers of the session. While it did not invite further questions about the topic, it was telling in its own way that Rodgers did not go into detail to defend Gutekunst from any of the public backlash of the past few months or promote optimism of working together in the future.
While Rodgers called the relationship “professional at this point” and simply answered “no” to asking for Gutekunst to be relieved of duties, he also made zero eye contact with the media until his statement was finished. There also seemed to be an attempt to hold back a couple more nervous smirks as he tried to answer each question. Although Rodgers may have been honest in both aspects, everything about his answer gave the impression that he was trying to save face. It only further cemented the notion that the two sides are not on close terms, or even personal ones outside of professional matters.
Hopefully, for all parties involved, the front office was aware of how open Rodgers was going to be about the “dysfunction” of the organization in this presser, or the strained relationship may only continue to deteriorate.
19:23 – 20:25: Adam Schefter
Rodgers did not verbalize his frustrations publicly during the offseason, but his disdain for misconceptions created by the media was certainly vocalized when asked about his biggest frustration of the offseason. After explaining his reasoning for staying silent and handling issues behind closed doors very calmly, Rodgers appeared innocent of leaking some of the storylines that have taken off.
However, his tone and body language shifted when he began to discuss what benefits, if any, would come from such a leak. Rodgers noticeably started to think carefully with his words when discussing the benefit about leaking news of a restructured contract. But one of his more evident frustrations of the entire interview came next when discussing the benefit of leaking his frustrations to the media on draft day. Immediately after saying the words “draft day,” Rodgers shook his head and rolled his eyes, pausing for a second or two before moving on. He was quick to say that he did not understand the motivation behind that decision in particular.
Both Rodgers and the Packers remained relatively quiet on any of their issues and negotiations throughout the spring and Rodgers has never enjoyed media members that meddle in his personal affairs. Adam Schefter, who provided that draft day leak, should not expect a one-on-one interview with the star quarterback any time soon.
27:00 – 27:20: With organizational change, will Rodgers return?
The final instance of telling body language came on one of the most important concluding questions of the day – the one asking Rodgers if he would return if he could inspire the change within the Packers that he desires.
Although it was not a long moment, Rodgers’ initial reaction was a pause with his eyes pointed at the ceiling and his head moving from one side to the other. While it indeed was a difficult question to answer at this exact time considering the circumstances, Rodgers, like in the Gutekunst question before, had ample opportunity with this question to provide reason to believe in change, that he wants the change, and that he hopes to remain in Green Bay after this season. Instead, Rodgers’ reaction was more than noncommittal and his verbiage in the subsequent minutes reinforced that the motivation to change has to come from within the franchise and that he can only hope to inspire it.
This all-around answer to the question, coupled with Rodgers’ doubts expressed earlier about a future beyond 2021, inspired very little optimism among those listening that a solution could be found during the course of this year. Perhaps time will provide healing, but changing Rodgers’ mind will not be an easy task.