Rodgers on NFL mics: 'Too much information'
Aaron Rodgers mentioned former Green Bay Packers linebacker A.J. Hawk when talking Tuesday about the good friends that he has seen come and go during his 11 years with the team. Two days later, the Packers quarterback joined Hawk for a nearly two-hour podcast and touched on a wide variety of topics, including what he sees as intrusive microphone technology in the NFL.
“Yeah, I think it’s too much information,” Rodgers told “The HawkCast.” “In 2008 there used to be no headset on defense, so the defense had to signal in every play and that was part of the whole ‘Spygate’ issue and filming signals and what-not. But now you have mics on both guards most of the time and you pick up everything that the quarterback says when we’re at home, and sometimes on the road as well, and I think that’s a competitive advantage for the defense and it makes you have to work that much harder with your dummy words and your live and your dead words. I mean, that’s part of the game there, but I think that the access is a little bit much. …
“I think, when I’m mic’d up, it definitely takes away from the authenticity of the game for me. I don’t feel comfortable mic’d up.”
Rodgers said he shares Randall Cobb’s belief that being mic’d up caused the Packers wide receiver to suffer the lung injury that knocked him out of Green Bay’s 26-20 overtime loss to Arizona in the NFC playoffs in January. Cobb said in February that he suspected the battery pack for the mic attached to his shoulder pads may have caused the injury, which occurred when Cobb landed on his back after making a leaping 51-yard catch.
“Randall Cobb had a serious injury last year in a playoff game and I believe, as I think he would as well and the team, that that was caused from him being mic’d up,” Rodgers said. “Because he fell on his mic pack and he had an injury to his insides that kept him out of the game and probably would have kept him out of the rest of the playoffs. The puncture spot, or the injury spot, was directly adjacent to his mic pack.”
There also was this exchange when Hawk brought up the possibility of NFL quarterbacks being required to wear point-of-view cameras in their helmets.
“Won’t be my helmet, I’ll tell you that much,” Rodgers said.
“Yeah, right," Hawk said. "How are you going to stop 'em?”
“I don’t get mic’d up. I’m not going to wear that,” Rodgers said.
“What if they put them on every guy?” Hawk asked.
“Might have to call it a career,” Rodgers said before laughing.
Rodgers also talked about leadership, his golf outing with President Barack Obama and more. Here’s a sampling:
On leadership: “It can take on different forms. Julius Peppers, I would say, is one of our leaders. Julius is a very quiet guy but he has that charisma about him, he has the experience which gives him the opportunity to speak when he has those chances. … For me it’s about finding those spots. I’m not a big rah-rah, in-front-of-the-team speech guy. … But I like to lead by example on the field. The guys know I’m going to bring it at practice every single day. They know I’m going to bring energy, I’m going to bring enthusiasm, I’m going to play my butt off when I get out there. I’m going to play through injuries and I’m going to represent the team well.”
On golfing with Obama: “It was my best round of the year, thankfully. I played really well, beneath the glare. I shot 75. … It was a lot of fun. … I was so nervous (on the first tee), super nervous. … You walk on the first tee with the leader of the free world, who’s competitive. … I didn’t want to go out there and embarrass myself. So luckily I put together a decent round, and made some putts.”
On receiving a note from Obama: “I’m in my office right now and I’ve got a lot of cool memorabilia in here over the years, but one thing that stands on my mantle is a letter that he sent me after my comments (defending Muslims after a fan made derogatory comments during a moment of silence last season). He sent me a nice, handwritten note about that, and that’s something that I’ll keep with me as long as I have this office. It’s pretty cool when you get a letter from a sitting president, and then obviously to play with the sitting president as well is pretty amazing.”
On how long he plans to play: “I just got knee surgery two days after the (season) to clean up an old injury and hopefully give me another six or seven to play. For quarterbacks, we’re right in our prime right now. I’m 32 years old, I’m turning 33 in December and I feel like I’m playing my best football and have been for a number of years now and I don’t feel like there’s an end in the near future to me playing at a really high level. Obviously, you want to go out on your own terms, you’d like to go out on top as a champion. But that only happens for a select few. The last thing you want to do is go out and not be able to play worth a damn. So it’s about finding that sweet spot where you still play at a high level and maybe you can go out as a champion.”