Aaron Rodgers and Jordan Love: Packers QBs explain ‘friendship’ despite draft drama
Aaron Rodgers endured a public rift with the Packers during the 2021 NFL offseason. The feud was a result of numerous little things piling up over the years, and one of them was the team’s decision in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft.
Green Bay traded up to select Utah State quarterback Jordan Love with the 26th pick in the draft. Rodgers had wanted another skill-position weapon in what was considered a deep receiver class and wasn’t exactly happy with the selection of Love.
“I think the general reaction at first was surprise, like many people,” Rodgers said of the Love selection. “Obviously I’m not going to say that I was, you know, thrilled by the pick necessarily, but the organization is thinking not only about the present but about the future. And I respect that.”
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Rodgers may not have liked the selection, but the veteran quarterback was still willing to mentor Love.
“Part of your legacy is how you treat your teammates,” Rodgers said to Bleacher Report in 2020. “I want Jordan to have as great of memories as possible of me being in the QB room and having some great laughs and competing. I want kinship, not animosity. That’s what I’ve always tried to do with all my backups.”
Are Rodgers and Love still on good terms a year and a half into Love’s career, even after Rodgers’ holdout? Here is what the two have said about each other during the 2021 NFL offseason.
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Aaron Rodgers’ relationship with Jordan Love
Rodgers’ desire to leave the Packers first became public on April 29, 2021, the first day of the 2021 NFL Draft. Rodgers stayed relatively mum for a few weeks before appearing on Kenny Mayne’s final show at ESPN. There, he wanted to make one thing clear: his holdout had nothing to do with Love. It was all about the organization’s philosophy.
“With my situation, look it’s never been about the draft pick, picking Jordan,” Rodgers told Kenny Mayne, per ESPN. “I love Jordan; he’s a great kid. [We’ve had] a lot of fun to work together. Love the coaching staff, love my teammates, love the fan base in Green Bay. An incredible 16 years. It’s just kind of about a philosophy and maybe forgetting that it is about the people that make the thing go. It’s about character, it’s about culture, it’s about doing things the right way.”
Rodgers tried to make sure he was doing things the right way during his holdout. He spoke well of Love at training camp in early August and explained that Love didn’t have it easy when he was away from the team; in fact, Rodgers acknowledged this situation was very similar to what he went through during Brett Favre’s final two seasons and retirement saga with the Packers.
“I have a lot of respect and love for Jordan, and I understand it’s got to be tough what he went through,” Rodgers said, per ESPN’s Rob Demovsky. “I went through it for two years in the offseason, going in ’06 and ’07, I was the guy the entire offseason, going through quarterback school, going through most of the OTAs, taking all the reps, and then here comes Favrey coming back — and obviously I’m back on the bench. Thankfully I went through that, and I can understand a little bit about what he’s going through, so I just try to keep that in mind the entire time.”
Those experiences led Rodgers to check in on Love, and the veteran noted that he was honest about his thoughts and plans with his teammate.
“I reached out a number of times [to] check on him [and] see how he’s doing,” Rodgers said. “I didn’t hold things from him. I let him know where I was at mentally and what I was thinking about. And hopefully he appreciated that.
“I just felt that’s what I would want in that situation, just to hear from the guy. And also, there’s a love and an appreciation and a friendship there, just like it was with me and Brett. So I wanted to make sure I checked in with him and let him know I was thinking about him.”
So, Rodgers certainly seems to have a good relationship with Love. Is it mutual?
Jordan Love’s relationship with Aaron Rodgers
Love has spoken well of Rodgers during his time with the Packers, and that continued even after Rodgers’ offseason holdout.
“It’s obviously very great to have Aaron back just on this team,” Love said after Rodgers returned to Green Bay, per The Associated Press. “Obviously, he’s a huge presence at the quarterback position and in the locker room, as well, and then as a leader on the team, so it’s great to have him back.”
And what type of relationship do the two have in the quarterback room? Love said that it was “good” and referenced “Star Wars” when discussing it.
“Me and Aaron have a good relationship,” Love said, per Packers.com. “Obviously, it’s kind of like the Master and the Padawan kind of thing. Just trying to learn as much as I can from him. Anytime there’s something in the quarterback room that Aaron feels I need to continue to improve on or do a better job, he’s right there to let me know.”
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That said, Love mentally prepared himself to start when Rodgers was away from the Packers. He wanted to be ready in case Rodgers opted to retire or to continue his holdout into the regular season.
“The whole time I had to convince myself that I was going to be the starter. That’s the only way you can look at that situation,” Love said. “I feel like if you don’t, you won’t be ready. That’s how I looked at it the whole way — is in my head he wasn’t coming back, I’ve got to get myself ready to be the starter.”
But now, he can continue to learn from Rodgers, and the 22-year-old quarterback seems more than happy to do that for another season.
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