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Aaron Rodgers expresses disappointment that news of Packers rift has emerged

NBC Sports' Mike Tirico ran into Packers QB Aaron Rodgers at the Kentucky Derby and shared some of his conversation with Green Bay's star player as the he and the franchise are at odds.

The situation between the Packers and quarterback Aaron Rodgers has blown up in recent days. Rodgers had an opportunity to speak about it on Saturday.

He passed.

Mike Tirico of NBC Sports, the host of the network’s Kentucky Derby coverage, spoke to Rodgers at Churchill Downs. Rodgers declined to be interviewed, but he expressed to Tirico disappointment that news of the rift with the organization has emerged.

“He expressed a couple of times how much he loves Green Bay, loves the fans, loves the franchise,” Tirico said. “There is a fissure. There is a chasm between management and the reigning NFL MVP.”

Rodgers is smart to point out that he loves the city, the fans, and the team. Some fans already have gone from regarding the situation with a side eye to turning on Rodgers, given that the situation has deteriorated -- and given that it seems that Rodgers wanted it to happen when it did, on the first day of the draft.

It’s too late for catch phrases like “beautiful mystery,” too late for him to try to walk back the various items of news that strategically have been leaked. The most significant twists definitely didn’t come from the team; they came from Rodgers or his representatives.

The most important aspect of Tirico’s report is that Rodgers denied nothing. Tirico spoke with Rodgers, and Tirico used words like “fissure” and “chasm” to describe the situation. It’s the next best thing to Rodgers saying so himself.

Maybe he’ll speak, maybe he won’t. By saying what he said to Tirico, and by Tirico saying it on the air, Rodgers has said enough. The question become what will the Packers do next?