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Aaron Rodgers pushes back on criticism for his failure to participate in 2022 OTAs

Mike Florio and Chris Simms dissect Aaron Rodgers’ remarks about the Packers front office, including the Davante Adams negotiations, offseason workouts, a disappointing 2022 season, communication issues and more.

In the latter years of Aaron Rodgers’s time in Green Bay, he stayed away from offseason workouts. In 2021, he skipped everything. In 2022, he made an appearance only for the mandatory minicamp.

In his recent on-the-record interview with Matt Schneidman of, which can be fairly regarded as one final airing of Green Bay grievances and a warning to his new team to tiptoe around the delicate genius, Rodgers pushes back on criticism for his failure to participate in OTAs in what became his final year with the Packers.

“When I’m in, I’m all-in, and you wanna ride with offseason workouts?” Rodgers told Schneidman. “I won MVP without doing offseason workouts. Like, was my commitment any less then? I’d say not at all. The way that I come back to work, not just physically in good shape but mentally refreshed, is the best thing for me to have the season I wanted to have during those in Green Bay. . . . I think that’s just a cop-out written to try and find something to disparage me about that, honestly, when you know what offseason workouts are really about, it’s completely ridiculous.”

It’s completely ridiculous if, as Rodgers does, the issue is viewed from the sole perspective of Rodgers.

What does it take for me to be ready? What does it take for me to be prepared? What does it take for me to win the MVP?

It’s never about team. It’s never about us. It’s never about putting his own interests behind those of the men with whom he works.

That was the issue in 2022, exemplified perfectly by the way Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes handled the aftermath of the Tyreek Hill trade and the way Rodgers dealt with the days and weeks following the deal that sent Davante Adams to the Raiders.

Mahomes was all in for his new teammates. He attended the full offseason program. He brought his new group of receivers to Texas for throwing sessions. He made notes on what they do well, and he shared that information with the coaching staff. Together, they had reps and reps and reps, allowing Mahomes to become comfortable with them -- and, more importantly, them to become comfortable with him.

Rodgers was MIA, AWOL. And it led to FUBAR for the Packers, with the receivers not sufficiently comfortable with a quarterback they’d been watching since they were little kids. Look at what Jets teammates have said. They’re “starstruck” by Rodgers.

So was Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs. They needed to be around Rodgers long enough for them to realize he’s just one of the guys. That’s how Mahomes conducted himself, and he already has double the number of Super Bowl wins that Rodgers has, in one third the number of years as a starter.

Last year, the foundation Mahomes laid in the offseason helped propel the offense in September and October. For the Packers, everyone was still getting comfortable with each other in the early phases of the season, before Watson got fully comfortable and began to flourish.

Could it have happened sooner if Rodgers had been there for the benefit not of Rodgers but Watson and other receivers? It definitely wouldn’t have happened any later.

So that’s the problem. In Rodgers’s zeal to be perceived as the “winner” of the divorce with the Packers, he views fair criticism as a personal attack. It’s not. It’s just an acknowledgement of the facts. Mahomes was truly all in for his teammates, and it paid the ultimate dividends. Rodgers wasn’t, and their push for the postseason was too little, too late.

Rodgers isn’t wired to admit he was wrong about anything, and he’s smart enough to fashion countless arguments that externalize blame. It’s never his fault, and anyone who would suggest otherwise is (in his view) either trying to “disparage” him or is being “completely ridiculous.”

The truth in Green Bay is that there’s plenty of blame to go around. The organization failed to put enough talent around one of the most talented quarterbacks in the history of the sport. But the quarterback bears some blame as well.

For him, there was far too much “me” and not nearly enough “team,” especially in the final years of his time with the Packers.