Aaron Rodgers ‘thankful’ for growth and improvement in relationships with Packers

The Green Bay Packers proved a relationship with an important player could be salvaged, and now there’s a legitimate chance the future Hall of Fame quarterback could return – if he wants to keep playing – in 2022.

In the moments after winning his fourth NFL MVP on Thursday night in Los Angeles, Aaron Rodgers immediately thanked the Packers organization – specifically mentioning president Mark Murphy, general manager Brian Gutekunst and executive president Russ Ball by name to start his acceptance speech.

The moment on stage at NFL Honors sat in stark contrast to last summer, and specifically the start of training camp when Rodgers ended his months-long holdout with a charged, 30-minute press conference in which he opened up and laid out all his complaints with the leadership of the organization and the direction of the team in general.

In a media session following the show, Rodgers went into greater detail on how his relationship with the Packers improved, and how grateful he is to be in a better place with the organization following his 17th season in Green Bay.

“There was obviously some things that were voiced in the offseason, privately between (Gutekunst) and myself, and I’m just thankful for the response,” Rodgers said, via Rob Demovsky of ESPN. “There was a lot of things that were done to make me feel really special and important, to the present, the past and the future of the franchise. And I’ve got to say that Russ and Brian especially had a big hand in that. And it didn’t go unnoticed.”

Word of Rodgers’ contentions with the team got out in late April. He then skipped the entire workout program and didn’t show up in Green Bay until the first day of training camp. And his return required an alteration to his contract and the addition of veteran receiver and friend Randall Cobb via trade with the Texans.

Given a second chance, the Packers did what was necessary to fix the faults in the relationship, and Rodgers has continually voiced appreciation for the work done to repair what was broken between the player and team.

The season ended in a “bitter” way with a divisional-round loss to the 49ers at Lambeau Field, but Rodgers enjoyed another terrific season in leading the Packers to 13 wins and the No. 1 seed in the NFC.

Now, he must decide if he wants to return, retire or play elsewhere. The team is in full agreement, and everyone in leadership wants Rodgers back. Repairing relationships certainly upped the Packers’ chances of getting Rodgers back in 2022.

If nothing else, the animus is gone.

“…thankful for the Packers organization and the conversations that we had at the end of the season and just the way the whole season went,” Rodgers said, via Bill Huber of SI.com. “I was obviously frustrated about some things in the offseason. We had a ton of conversations and I just felt like there was so much growth, and I’m so thankful for that. I’m thankful for the relationships – with Brian as much as anybody.”

The Packers don’t need praise for fixing a problem of their own creation, but if Rodgers is to be believed, the team has done everything required and more to fix, stabilize and strengthen the relationship between the organization and the 2021 NFL MVP.

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