Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers skipped the start of this week's organized team activities amid a rift with the franchise. File Photo by Mark Black/UPI | License Photo
May 25 (UPI) -- Quarterback Aaron Rodgers' rift with the Green Bay Packers is about the franchise's philosophy, character and culture, and not backup quarterback Jordan Love's place on the team's roster, the reigning NFL MVP said.
Rodgers made his first public comments on the rift, since the NFL Draft, Monday on ESPN's Sportscenter. The future Hall of Famer skipped the start of the Packers' organized team activities this week amid the conflict, which started before last season.
Sources said in April that Rodgers told the Packers he doesn't want to return to the team in 2021.
Rodgers suggested that his rift relates to a lack of appreciation for what he has accomplished over his 16-year tenure for the franchise. He spoke about his love for teammates, coaches and fans, but did not mention the Packers' front office.
"History is important, legacy of so many people who've come before you," Rodgers told ESPN. "But the people, that's the most important thing. People make an organization, people make a business and sometimes that gets forgotten.
"Culture is built brick by brick, the foundation of it by the people, not by the organization, not by the building, not by the corporation. It's built by the people.
"I've been fortunate enough to play with a number of amazing, amazing people and got to work for some amazing people as well. It's those people that build the foundation of those entities. I think sometimes we forget that."
The Packers traded up to select Love with the No. 26 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. Rodgers threw 67 touchdown passes and led the Packers to a 23-15-1 record from 2017 through 2019, his lowest totals for a three-year span during his decade-plus long tenure with the franchise.
His previous nine seasons as the full-time starter featured six Pro Bowl selections, two All-Pro selections, two NFL MVP awards and a Super Bowl victory.
Rodgers said at the time of the Love selection and he was "surprised" and wasn't "elated" or "thrilled" with the pick.
"With my situation, look it's never been about the draft pick, picking Jordan," Rodgers told ESPN. "I love Jordan; he's a great kid. [We've had] a lot of fun to work together. I love the coaching staff, love my teammates, love the fan base in Green Bay.
"[It has been] 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 responded to the Love selection with a fantastic 2020 campaign. He threw a career-high 48 touchdown passes, posted a league-best 70.7% completion percentage, threw just five interceptions and led the Packers to the No. 1 seed in the NFC.
"A lot of this was put in motion last year, and the wrench was just kind of thrown into it when I won MVP and played the way I played last year," Rodgers said. "This is just kind of, I think, a spill-out of all that.
"But it is about the people, and that's the most important thing. Green Bay has always been about the people -- from Curly Lambeau being owner and founder to the '60s with [Vince] Lombardi and Bart Starr and all those incredible names to the '90s teams with coach [Mike] Holmgren and Favrey [Brett Favre] and the 'Minister of Defense' [Reggie White] to the run that we've been on. It's about the people."
Rodgers, 37, has three years left on his contract. The Packers, Rodgers and his agents continue to negotiate a new contract, but Rodgers has not accepted any offers for a potential extension.
Rodgers did not say when, or if, he plans to attend Packers off-season workouts, which are voluntary at this point. He can be fined more than $93,000 if he misses the Packers' three-day minicamp in June.
The Denver Broncos, San Francisco 49ers and Los Angeles Rams are among the teams linked to Rodgers as potential trade destinations.