Packers star Aaron Rodgers acknowledges Green Bay drafting a quarterback in the first round surprised him and complicated his hopes of playing his entire career with the same team.
The Packers traded up four spots in the first round last month to take Utah State quarterback Jordan Love with the 26th overall pick. The move has raised speculation about Rodgers’ long-term future in Green Bay, no matter how much team officials emphasized afterward that the two-time MVP remains the clear-cut starting quarterback for the foreseeable future.
Rodgers said Friday in a conference call that marked his first public comments on the Packers’ draft, quote - “I think the general reaction at first was surprise, like many people. “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.”
The 36-year-old Rodgers has been with the Packers since they selected him with the 24th overall selection in 2005. Former Packers quarterback Brett Favre predicted on “The Rich Eisen Show” earlier this month that Rodgers would finish his career somewhere other than Green Bay.
Rodgers, who owns the best career passer rating in NFL history, has four years remaining on his contract after signing a four-year, $134 million extension in August 2018 that included more than $100 million in guaranteed money.
Rodgers also expressed confidence in his team’s receiving corps after the Packers made the surprising decision not to draft any wideouts. Davante Adams was the only Packer to catch as many as 50 passes or accumulate as many as 500 yards receiving last season.
Rodgers finished 12th in passer rating and 21st in completion percentage last year, but still threw 26 touchdown passes and only four interceptions. The Packers went 13-3, won the NFC North title, but the season ended with a 37-20 loss to the San Francisco 49ers _their third NFC championship game defeat in the last six years.
Rodgers spent his first three NFL seasons backing up Favre before earning the starting spot in 2007, a move that led to Favre’s exit from Green Bay. Favre was 35 when the Packers drafted Rodgers.
The difference is that Favre openly pondered retirement at the time the Packers drafted Rodgers, and Rodgers has talked about how he wants to play several more years.
Rodgers says he’s always had good relationships with his backup quarterbacks and expects a similar dynamic with Love. He said he’s had “some great conversations” with Love and noted they have something in common as players who weren’t heavily recruited out of high school.