GREEN BAY — While Mark Murphy didn’t say the exact words, the Green Bay Packers team president/CEO might as well have just come out and said it:
Aaron Rodgers’ 18-year career in Green Bay is over.
Speaking during the telecast of the annual WIAA state girls high school basketball tournament at the Resch Center on Friday afternoon, Murphy said the Packers would take Rodgers back as their quarterback in 2023 “if things don’t work out the way we would want them (to).”
And in a subsequent interview with Green Bay/Fox Cities ABC affiliate WBAY-TV, Murphy referred to Rodgers’ time with the Packers in the past tense — in conjunction with that of Rodgers’ quarterbacking predecessor, Brett Favre.
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“It happens in our game. Very few players play for only one team,” Murphy told WBAY. “Obviously, Brett had a great career here; Aaron had a great career here. Regardless of what happens, Aaron will be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, he’ll be in our Hall of Fame. We will bring him back and retire his number.
“But this is just one of the things that you go through as a team. We want to try to achieve something that’s good for both Aaron and us.”
On the WIAA telecast, Murphy confirmed the Packers had given the New York Jets permission to talk with Rodgers about a potential trade earlier in the week and that the team would accommodate Rodgers if he wants to be traded there.
“We’re really hopeful that we can reach a resolution that works not only for Aaron but for us,” Murphy said during a between-games interview at the Resch Center, which is across Oneida Street from Lambeau Field.
Asked if there was a scenario in which Rodgers could be the Packers’ starting quarterback in 2023, Murphy replied, “Yeah, unless … if things don’t work out the way that we would want them (to).
“Yeah, he is obviously a great player. It’s trying to find what he wants and what we want. Hopefully we can find a win-win situation.”
Murphy said he believes Rodgers might still decide to retire after 15 seasons as the Packers’ starting quarterback but indicated he thinks Rodgers wants to keep playing.
“He’s (played) a lot of years, a lot of wear and tear. It’s a lot to go through to get ready for a season and a season,” Murphy said. “(But) he’s a competitor, too, and I know he wants to keep playing if all things (are) considered.”
Murphy also reiterated the Packers “would love” to have the Rodgers situation resolved by the start of free agency on Wednesday.
“It’s in everybody’s interest to resolve it sooner rather than later,” Murphy said.
In his interview with WBAY, Murphy called the team’s decision to let Rodgers talk to the Jets “a situation where I think we want to help Aaron achieve what he wanted — as well as the Packers — and hopefully create a situation where it’s kind of a win for both sides.”
Rodgers, though, has yet to say what exactly he wants — whether he wants to retire, play for the Packers or play elsewhere, be it with the Jets or another NFL team. A source said earlier this week the Packers and Rodgers still haven’t engaged in much communication, if any.
Speaking at the annual NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis early last week, Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst had said he and Rodgers hadn’t talked since the end of the season and that their only back-and-forth had been via text message.
“He’s a great player, but until we have those conversations, I think all options are on the table right now,” Gutekunst had replied when asked during a session with Wisconsin-based reporters whether he wanted Rodgers to be the Packers’ starting quarterback in 2023. “But we really need to have those conversations. We want what’s best for the Green Bay Packers, what’s best for Aaron. So, we’ll get to that once those conversations happen.”
For his part, Rodgers has said very little publicly since his run of appearances on “The Pat McAfee Show” ended last month. He did appear on a podcast with his friend Aubrey Marcus and said at the time he wanted to “make a decision sooner rather than later” without giving any actual timeline.
“For everybody involved, directly and indirectly, it’s best for a decision earlier, and I feel really good about the conversations that are going be had, that have been had with important people in my life,” Rodgers told Marcus. “There’s a finality to the decision, and I don’t make it lightly. I don’t want to drag anybody around.
“If you don’t like it, if you think it’s drama, you think I’m being a diva or whatever, just tune it out. That’s fine. But this is my life, it’s important to me and I’ll make a decision soon enough. And then we’ll go down that road and be really excited about it.”
Asked Friday by WBAY’s Adrianna Torres if the decision was up to Rodgers and only Rodgers, Murphy replied, “We’re still in the discussions. I can’t really get into a lot of the specifics.”
If — or when — the Packers move on from Rodgers, they’ll turn to 2020 first-round draft pick Jordan Love, whose selection blindsided Rodgers and led to Rodgers having back-to-back NFL MVP seasons, the third and fourth MVP honors of his career.
Asked If Love is ready to be the face of the franchise, Murphy replied, “Yeah, we have a lot of confidence in him. We drafted him and developed him. A lot of credit goes to our coaches and to Jordan. But we do think he’s ready.”
Earlier in the day, the Packers announced their finalized 2023 coaching staff. Among the changes: Special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia was given the title of assistant head coach; Greg Williams was hired as passing game coordinator/defense; Ryan Downard was promoted to defensive backs coach, and Jason Rebrovich was promoted to pass rush specialist. … ESPN reported left tackle David Bakhtiari’s contract was restructured to free up cap room. The team converted Bakhtiari’s scheduled $9.5 million roster bonus plus $5.5 million of his 2023 base salary into a signing bonus to lower his scheduled $29.1 million cap number.
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