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In crafting his Green Bay exit narrative, Aaron Rodgers outsmarted himself

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.

For reasons obvious only to former Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, he recently went on the record recently with for another airing of Green Bay grievances.

Among other things, Rodgers continues to cling to the clunky notion that his failure to be responsive to efforts to reach him were not intentional.

Yes, he’s sticking with the “bad cell coverage” cover story.

“I have zero or one bar at the house, so you call me -- sometimes it goes through, most of the time it drops and doesn’t go through,” Rodgers told Matt Schneidman. “Everybody who knows me, when I’m out west, they know that’s how to get a hold of me. So you can say whatever you want about that, but that’s the fucking truth.”

Through his latest comments Rodgers has deftly pivoted to a new narrative regarding his final days with the Packers. He has gone from claiming that they wanted him back and then suddenly didn’t to claiming that they decided to move on simply because they couldn’t get in touch with him.

“Did Brian text me more than I texted him?” Rodgers told Schneidman. “Yeah, but did I ghost him? No. I texted him back. There was back-and-forths that we had and so this is the story you wanna go with? You’re gonna stand on this hill of austerity and say that arguably in the conversation of the best player in your franchise history, you’re gonna say I couldn’t get a hold of him and that’s why we had to move on?

“Like, come on, man. Just tell the truth, you wanted to move on. You didn’t like the fact that we didn’t communicate all the time. Like, listen, I talk to the people that I like.”

That’s definitely not how this issue entered the discussion regarding why Rodgers left the Packers. In March, Rodgers tried to sell the narrative that, when the 2022 season ended, the Packers told him that they wanted him to remain with the team and that, after he emerged from his darkness retreat, he learned out of the blue that they had been shopping him.

Packers G.M. Brian Gutekunst later pushed back on the notion that the team simply ignored Rodgers while making plans for 2023. Gutekunst said that the Packers tried to contact Rodgers “many times,” and that after he failed to respond to them, Gutekunst had to do his job.

The next volley came from Rodgers, who trotted out the no-bars story in his introductory press conference with the Jets.

Again, the whole thing started because Rodgers originally wanted people to believe that: (1) the Packers had left a light on for him; (2) he entered the darkness retreat “90 percent” leaning toward retirement; and (3) he learned for the first time after emerging from the darkness that the Packers had been shopping him.

It doesn’t hold up, for reasons unrelated to phone calls and footlockers. It doesn’t hold up because the notion that Rodgers went into the darkness fully believing that everything was fine with the Packers is not factually accurate.

That wrinkle actually emerged when Rodgers first told his “Packers wanted me until they didn’t” story, during a March 15 appearance with Pat McAfee. After painting the picture of pre-darkness utopia and post-darkness dystopia, Rodgers conceded that he sensed things were amiss during the 2022 season. That cuts against his own version of how it all ended.

In the more recent comments to Schneidman, Rodgers further undermined his own story. “Before I went in the darkness, I hit them up and said, ‘Hey, there’s some stuff swirling around here. We should get together, you, me and Matt [LaFleur].’”

So Rodgers wasn’t blindsided after deliberately blinding himself for multiple days. He knew things weren’t going well, and he wasn’t making things better by being aloof and standoffish.

This all started as an effort by Rodgers to make himself into the victim of a Green Bay switcheroo. As holes emerged in his first story, he scrambled to plug them. Now that the original attempt has fallen apart, the victimization effort has pivoted to complaints regarding the Packers standing on a “hill of austerity” by claiming that they decided to trade the best player in franchise history simply because they couldn’t get in touch with him.

The truth is that the Packers wanted to move on, and Rodgers wanted to move on. The idea that his desire to defect for the Jets happened only after the Packers misled him about their desire to keep him simply doesn’t survive the simplest amount of analysis and scrutiny. Especially since he has repeatedly contradicted himself on that point.

So why does he keep talking about it? Why did he grant an on-the-record interview during which he unloaded on his former team?

When Brett Favre left, all he wanted to do was kick his old team’s butt a few times. Rodgers seems to want to poison the well to the point where he finally gets his wish for Gutekunst to be fired.

Consider this line from Rodgers: “Like, listen, I talk to the people that I like.”

Those 10 words really say it all, in more than 10 different ways.