Terry Bradshaw has no patience for the offseason saga of Aaron Rodgers and his discontent with the Green Bay Packers, which began a year ago when the team drafted his apparent successor.
The situation escalated rapidly on the first day of the NFL draft when ESPN reported that Rodgers no longer wanted to play for the Packers, then snowballed when Yahoo reported that he had threatened to retire unless general manager Brian Gutekunst, who made the decision to draft Jordan Love in the first round in 2020, is fired.
It was all too much for Bradshaw, the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Hall of Famer and Fox NFL analyst.
“With him being that upset shows me how weak he is,” Bradshaw told WFAN’s “Moose and Maggie” show Monday. “Who the hell cares who you draft? I mean, he’s a three-time MVP in the league and he’s worried about this guy they drafted last year (in the first round)? … And for him to be upset, my God, I don’t understand that. Pittsburgh drafted Mark Malone number one 26th overall in the first round in 1980), Cliff Stoudt in the third or fourth round (fifth round, 1977). I had ’em coming at me from all angles. I embraced it, because when we went to practice, I wasn’t worried about those guys, you know? They didn’t scare me a bit. So I don’t understand why he’s so upset at Green Bay.”
The Packers angered Rodgers, who said he learned that the team would take Love out of Utah State with the 26th overall pick in 2020, in a text message as the pick was made. Rodgers admitted it was a shock that he coped with by pouring himself “four fingers of tequila.”
Bradshaw, of course, played in a different era and was appalled at the Gutekunst ultimatum that Rodgers reportedly delivered.
“… If they fire the general manager he’ll come back?” Bradshaw added. “Are you kidding me? Really? Aaron, that’s where this is?”
Rodgers has offered no clarity on his feelings, declining to address the matter while attending the Kentucky Derby Saturday. He spoke with NBC’s Mike Tirico, who was left to interpret their conversation.
“I can tell you, I characterize Aaron as disappointed that news has come out of this rift with the Packers,” Tirico said. “He expressed a couple of times how much he loves Green Bay, loves the fans, loves the franchise. There is a chasm between management and the reigning NFL MVP. We’re just not sure how this is going to play out. Watch closely over the next couple of weeks to see what we hear from the Packers side and when Aaron does speak.”
On Monday, Rodgers cryptically did “like” a tweet by one of his favorite receivers. Davante Adams wrote: “Gotta appreciate what u got while ya got it!”
The situation has a simple solution for Bradshaw, who said he “wouldn’t budge” if he ran the Packers.
“Let him gripe. Let him cry. Retire. You’re 38 (he will be in December). Go ahead and retire. See you later. I mean, I’m really strong about stuff like that, and it just makes him look weak,” Bradshaw said. “In my way of looking at it, it makes him look weak.”
Gutekunst said Sunday that the team would not trade Rodgers, which would seem to have him in the position of playing for the Packers or retiring. Maybe hosting “Jeopardy!” full time would be an option, although a less lucrative one than the NFL presents. If he were to retire, Rodgers would have to repay $23 million in unearned signing bonus money, and the $6.8 million roster bonus he earned earlier in the offseason. He’d also forfeit his $14.7 million base salary for 2021. Unlike the NFL’s other 31 teams, Rodgers can’t sit down with an owner because the Packers are publicly owned.
And it’s always possible there is a simpler explanation behind all the drama. What if it was simply a way to embarrass the Packers, as he believes they did him last year, on draft day?
Bradshaw admitted he hadn’t considered the possibility that the whole thing was simply an empty threat, but has a solution if it is. “Call him on it.”