GREEN BAY – Former Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy denied a Bleacher Report story Thursday that he missed offensive team meetings to sneak in a massage in his office.
In a report published Thursday, several anonymous players claimed that McCarthy was absent from some meetings and word leaked to them that McCarthy was “up in his office getting a massage during those meetings.”
One player, the story said, had the same massage therapist, and she let it slip that McCarthy would sneak her up a back stairway to his office while the rest of the team prepared for that week's opponent.
In a text to the Journal Sentinel, McCarthy called the claim he missed meetings to get a massage “unbelievable.”
Asked to respond to the article, he said, “I wouldn’t even know where to start. I can’t even respond to that stuff. It’s not (bothering) me, it’s my family. Just so unnecessary they have to deal with this stuff.”
The massage claim was among several stories unidentified players and front office officials told Bleacher Report that showed some of the dysfunction that plagued the organization, especially in the final months of McCarthy’s 13th and final season with the Packers.
McCarthy was fired with four games left in the season. The Packers finished with a 6-9-1 record, marking the first time since 1990-91 they had back-to-back losing seasons.
The story depicted a fractured relationship between McCarthy and Rodgers, which was detailed locally in stories and columns during the ’18 season. It also claimed that Rodgers didn’t respect McCarthy’s coaching acumen and had told teammates, “Mike has one of the lowest IQs, if not the lowest IQ, of any coach (he) ever had."
It also quoted an anonymous starter who said that McCarthy favored the offense in practice much to the dismay of defensive players, who felt he had little interest in them.
Rodgers was portrayed as holding a grudge against McCarthy for the latter’s preference for Alex Smith over Rodgers while offensive coordinator of the San Francisco 49ers. Smith was the No. 1 pick of the 49ers and Rodgers lasted until No. 24 before being picked by the Packers.
The story said Rodgers refused to trust rookie receivers and would order them to run different routes than what the play call required, which has been reported before. Former tight end Jermichael Finley suggested that Rodgers cared too much about statistics and would not change no matter who was the coach.
Former wide receiver James Jones, who is an analyst for NFL Network, took to task some of the claims that were made in the story.
“The crazy thing about it is I’m getting a bunch of texts from my former teammates, and they’re like, ‘Where was I at when all of this stuff was going on? Because I don’t remember any of this stuff going on,’” Jones said. “And it’s crazy that former players that played with Aaron, when they were in the locker room, could’ve addressed this with Aaron but did not address it with him, if that is what was going on.”
Former Packers fullback John Kuhn defended McCarthy and Rodgers on Twitter, saying, "Never knew my coach to get a massage instead of attending meetings and my QB never threw me under the bus."