GREEN BAY - Brett Favre believes the Green Bay Packers sent Aaron Rodgers a “disrespect message” last week in the NFL draft.
In a radio appearance Wednesday with the "Rich Eisen Show," the Hall of Fame quarterback said his former team sent Rodgers the wrong message when it traded up to draft Utah State quarterback Jordan Love in the first round. Favre said he believes the decision to draft Love will lead to an unsavory conclusion to Rodgers’ career with the Packers.
“I think he’ll play somewhere else,” Favre told Eisen. “My gut tells me, no. It’s kind of cool — it’s not uncommon to retire and unretire now. When I did it, it was a little bit out of the realm. Now, it’s fairly common, not just in football but in all sports. Tom Brady and myself and Joe Montana and Peyton Manning — just to name a few — finished their career elsewhere. In my case, I played for four different teams. So I think you’re going to see that trend more and more, and I think Aaron will finish somewhere else. That’s my gut.”
Favre can empathize with the uncertain future Rodgers now faces. He was the Packers quarterback in 2005 when former general manager Ted Thompson drafted Rodgers with the 24th overall pick, starting the clock on Favre’s eventual departure from the Packers three years later. Favre said Thompson did not inform him of his decision before drafting Rodgers, similar to how general manager Brian Gutekunst did not inform Rodgers before drafting Love.
Favre said he spoke with Rodgers since the draft, though the only piece to the conversation he shared was that Rodgers was “surprised” with the pick. He said he wasn’t surprised Rodgers congratulated Love directly one day after the first round.
That doesn’t mean he foresees rosy times ahead.
“I can guarantee you this,” Favre said, “and I don’t know this for certain, but I guarantee you it’s got the wheels turning in Aaron’s mind. Which, if that’s the case, then that means there’s a chip on his shoulder toward the organization that otherwise was not there. And so all he needs is a reason other than this reason to expedite that.”
Favre was “very surprised” to see the Packers trade up for Love, he said. After the Packers advanced to the doorstep of a Super Bowl trip before losing in the NFC championship game last season, Favre expected the team might get immediate help in the draft, namely a receiver.
Instead, the Packers declined to draft a single receiver, something Favre perceived as the team signaling it had started to look toward its future.
“They were several plays from being in the Super Bowl,” Favre said. “A game away, but just a few plays, they kind of fall back in that game — and nothing against Jordan Love, I mean no disrespect — but you trade up to get a guy who, he may turn out to be great, I hope he does, but you trade up to get more of a project. He’s a little bit unproven. A lot of upside, no doubt about it, but he can’t help you get to the Super Bowl immediately.
“I just think that if you’re playing for now, as all the teams in the league tell you they are — or most will tell you that, some certainly are not, but Green Bay is one of them that should be playing for now — they don’t draft any weapons, not just in the first round, but any weapons that can help immediately to my knowledge. That just sends a disrespect message to Aaron Rodgers. He has every right to be disappointed, if he is.”
Favre was disappointed with the Packers decision to draft Rodgers in the first round 15 years ago. In 2005, the regime that had brought Favre to the Packers had left, giving way to new leadership in the front office and coaching staff. Favre sees similarities with the Packers hiring a new general manager and head coach in the past couple of years.
While speaking with the media after Saturday’s final rounds of the draft, Matt LaFleur said he expected Rodgers would be a “great mentor” for Love. Favre famously said it wasn’t his job to mentor his backup, a belief he reiterated Wednesday for Rodgers.
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“It’s not his job to mentor Jordan Love,” Favre said. “This discussion went on when I left Green Bay. It’s not the head guy’s job to mentor the next guy. That guy is ultimately there to take your spot. Now, if Jordan were to ask Aaron, ‘Can I watch extra film with you?’ I would be shocked if Aaron said, ‘No.’ I think he would go over and beyond to help, but he’s not going to go out of his way, and I can’t blame him.”
Favre said he wasn’t surprised Gutekunst declined to inform Rodgers of his decision before selecting Love. Still, he believed better communication was necessary.
Without it, Favre said it’s possible the Packers could find themselves in another “ugly” quarterback situation, similar to their transition from Favre to Rodgers.
“If I were the GM,” Favre said, “and I had Drew Brees, if I had Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson, guys like that as my quarterback, I would make sure that I gave every impression that their input was extremely valuable, and whatever I did, I was doing the best interest of the team, but I wanted to include them. Green Bay is not going anywhere without Aaron Rodgers in the next few years. If he plays like we expect him to play, they’ve got a shot — with or without a first-round receiver, he’s that good.
“So I would do all I could to not burn that bridge, and I don’t think that they did that. I think that they burned a bridge that’s going to be hard to overcome. At some point, I think it will rear its ugly head.”