Aaron Rodgers ‘tells friends he plans to return to Green Bay’

After months of public wrangling with the Green Bay front office, reigning NFL Most Valuable Player Aaron Rodgers is reportedly returning to the Packers for the 2021 season.

NFL network reported Monday that the decorated quarterback has told confidants that he plans to play for the Packers this season, although that is not yet certain. CEO Brian Gutekunst recently told team shareholders that he was “hopeful” for a positive outcome with Rodgers, who criticized the organization’s “character and culture”.

Rodgers, 37, has stayed away from the team, including skipping the mandatory mini camp, sparking months of speculation about where he would play the 2021 season, if at all.

After months of public feuds with the Green Bay front office, reigning NFL Most Valuable Player Aaron Rodgers is reportedly returning to the Packers for the 2021 season

NFL network reported Monday that the decorated quarterback has told confidants that he plans to play for the Packers this season, although that is not yet certain.  CEO Brian Gutekunst recently told team shareholders he was

NFL network reported Monday that the decorated quarterback has told confidants that he plans to play for the Packers this season, although that is not yet certain. CEO Brian Gutekunst recently told team shareholders he was “hopeful” for a positive outcome with Rodgers, who criticized the organization’s “character and culture”

Tom Brady (left) and Phil Mickelson (right) congratulate Aaron Rodgers after Rodgers and Bryson DeChambeau win Capital One's The Match at The Reserve at Moonlight Basin on July 06, 2021 in Big Sky, Montana

Tom Brady (left) and Phil Mickelson (right) congratulate Aaron Rodgers after Rodgers and Bryson DeChambeau win Capital One’s The Match at The Reserve at Moonlight Basin on July 06, 2021 in Big Sky, Montana

Rodgers’ latest public comments came early this month when he said he’d been devoting time to his mental health and spiritual self this off-season.

“We want him back, we’re committed to him for 2021 and beyond,” President Mark Murphy told shareholders, adding that the standoff has been a “challenging situation, but let’s not forget all the great things he’s done.”

Packers veterans report Tuesday with first practice scheduled for Wednesday.

Previously, Rodgers had reportedly turned down a two-year off-season contract extension, which would make him the highest-paid player in the NFL.

As Adam Schefter of ESPN reported Tuesday, the proposed deal would have kept Rodgers in Green Bay for another five years and made him the “highest-paid player and quarterback” in the NFL.

The refusal is “proof” that Rodgers’ problems with the club are “not about the money,” Schefter wrote in a tweet.

There was a growing belief that Rodgers would retire rather than return to the Packers.

With that thought in mind, Westgate SuperBook recently removed the expected wins, playoff odds, division odds and weekly lines for all four NFC North teams, according to Sports Illustrated. The publication cited the information as coming from an oddsmaker at the sportsbook.

According to SI.com, multiple sportsbooks agreed that Rodgers would retire ahead of Green Bay’s first practice on Wednesday. SI said one sportsbook reduced the chances of Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes winning MVP honors.

Pro Football Talk also reports that DraftKings and PointsBet have removed the Packers from betting on too high a win.

Aaron Rodgers pictured during his brief guest-hosting tenure on Jeopardy!

Aaron Rodgers pictured during his brief guest-hosting tenure on Jeopardy!

Rodgers took issue with multiple instances of what he considers to be communication failures from the team, including trading in the 2020 draft to select quarterback Jordan Love in the first round.

But Rodgers said in May that “it was never about the draft pick.”

‘I love Jordan; he’s a great kid,” he told ESPN. ‘(It’s) really nice to work together. I love the coaching staff, I love my teammates, I love the fans in Green Bay. An incredible 16 years. It’s just kind of about a philosophy and maybe we forget that it’s about the people running the thing.

“It’s about character, it’s about culture, it’s about doing things the right way.”

The overarching issue between Gutekunst and Rodgers surfaced ahead of the 2021 NFL Draft, but there has been underlying friction since the Packers selected Love in the first round of the 2020 draft.

In the rookie mini-camp after the draft, LaFleur again said the Packers wanted Rodgers to return “in the worst way.”

“As we have said since the end of the season, we are committed to Aaron in 2021 and beyond,” Gutekunst told ESPN. “Aaron has been an essential part of our success and we look forward to fighting with him at the head of our team for another championship.”

Rodgers made cryptic comments ahead of the 2020 NFC title game, saying his future is a “wonderful mystery.”

Rodgers and the Packers are locked in a simmering standoff.  Rodgers reportedly told the Packers that he would not be playing for the team next season.  But team president Mark Murphy and general manager Brian Gutekunst (pictured) pledged not to part with the reigning MVP

Rodgers and the Packers are locked in a simmering standoff. Rodgers reportedly told the Packers that he would not be playing for the team next season. But team president Mark Murphy and general manager Brian Gutekunst (pictured) pledged not to part with the reigning MVP

Jordan Love was a surprise first-round pick for the Packers in 2020. His arrival seemed to suggest that Rodgers' days in Green Bay were numbered until the longtime starter won his third MVP award in 2020.

Jordan Love was a surprise first-round pick for the Packers in 2020. His arrival seemed to suggest that Rodgers’ days in Green Bay were numbered until the longtime starter won his third MVP award in 2020.

The Packers have shown no interest in trading him, and according to ESPN, they have turned down offers from the Los Angeles Rams, who eventually traded for Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford.

Rodgers pictured with his likely successor, Jordan Love, during a training session in 2020

Rodgers pictured with his likely successor, Jordan Love, during a training session in 2020

Rodgers won his third MVP award in 2020 after leading the NFL and setting franchise records for both percentage completion (70.7) and touchdown passes (48).

But for Rodgers, the MVP award may have been a turning point in his relationship with the team.

“A lot of this (drama) was set in motion last year, and the key was kind of thrown in when I won MVP and played like I played last year,” Rodgers told ESPN. “This is just kind of, I guess, an outgrowth of all that. But it’s about the people and that’s the most important thing.

Rodgers played his entire 16-year NFL career with the Packers, winning three MVP awards and Super Bowl XLV during that time.

He is signed through the 2023 season, but has an out clause in his contract that will allow him to become a free agent in the summer of 2022. Rodgers has earned more than $240 million in salary in his 16-year career.

Rodgers has been busy this off-season.

In addition to a brief presentation from Jeopardy, he revealed his engagement to actress Shailene Woodley when he took home his third MVP award in February.

In addition to a brief presentation from Jeopardy in April, Rodgers revealed his engagement to actress Shailene Woodley when he took home his third MVP award in February.

In addition to a brief presentation from Jeopardy in April, Rodgers revealed his engagement to actress Shailene Woodley when he took home his third MVP award in February.

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