Published November 20, 2014
For a player who chooses his words carefully, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is having a fairly outspoken week.
First, the Green Bay quarterback publicly disagreed with his team's offensive game plan in a narrow victory over Detroit. Then he was voted the Packers' new union representative and attended an event on behalf of the NFL Players Association, putting himself in the middle of what is becoming a tense standoff between players and owners over a new collective bargaining agreement.
Even as Rodgers begins to explore what it means to be one the league's rising stars, he passed on the chance to criticize his bosses for failing to make a trade for running back Marshawn Lynch.
Buffalo traded Lynch to Seattle this week for a pair of undisclosed draft picks.
"Marshawn is a friend of mine, and I wish him nothing but the best," Rodgers said Wednesday. "I had the opportunity to play with him when he was a freshman and he had an incredible season that year. But you know what? I like our guys. I really do."
Lynch is a former teammate of Rodgers' at Cal, and would have filled a significant need for a team that has had a hard time running the ball since losing Ryan Grant to a season-ending ankle injury in the first game of the season.
When Rodgers was asked last month what he would say if the Packers' front office asked him about a potential trade for Lynch, he said, "Bring him on."
Rodgers didn't completely back away from that statement Wednesday, saying a team never can have enough talented players. But Rodgers insists the Packers can win with the players they have.
And even after watching the Minnesota Vikings add wide receiver Randy Moss in a trade, Rodgers said he isn't frustrated by the Packers' lack of splashy personnel moves under general manager Ted Thompson.
"That's not my decision," Rodgers said. "That's a personnel decision. So I think I just realize, you can have requests or wants or needs, and I'm not saying that Lynch was one of them. I never once said anything to the personnel department about Marshawn Lynch. But you guys (the media) asked me how I feel about it, I said, 'Bring it on.' You can't have enough good players. But that's not my place. I play, they make those decisions. Coaches coach."
Coaches do indeed coach — something Rodgers was reminded of this week as the team prepares to play at Washington on Sunday.
After the offense was held scoreless in the second half and the Packers barely beat the Lions at home Sunday, Rodgers hinted that he didn't agree with the team's approach on offense and wanted to see the Packers use more multiple-receiver shotgun formations.
Rodgers said he and coach Mike McCarthy talked this week, like they usually do, and are on the same page.
"I get paid to play the game, and Mike gets paid to be the head coach," Rodgers said. "So I know my role and he knows his. I know where I'm at on the chain."
That said, Rodgers' stature took a step up on Monday when his teammates voted him in as the team's new player representative to the union. With a lockout a possibility next year, Rodgers knows he will have to take public stands that might not always be popular with management or fans.
"It's an honor to be voted in by my peers, my teammates, that means a lot to me," Rodgers said. "It gives me another opportunity to speak for the team and as my leadership role increases, that's a challenge and an opportunity that I look forward to. But we'll meet those bridges when we get there."
Rodgers said he wanted to take an active role in upcoming negotiations.
"I think it's important in that this is the most important negotiation of my career, and I think it's important we have guys that are player reps who are passionate about their sport, and want to see it advanced to the next generation," Rodgers said. "That's why I'm looking forward to this challenge."