'He's a bum': Aaron Rodgers fires back at MVP voter who called him a 'jerk'

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GREEN BAY – Aaron Rodgers might’ve saved his hardest fastball of the season for a target who isn’t one of the Green Bay Packers' receivers. 

Rodgers did not hold back a day after Hub Arkush, a veteran Chicago sportswriter and among the Associated Press’ 50 voters for the NFL’s MVP award, declared he would not cast his vote for him because of off-field reasons. In a local radio interview, Arkush cited Rodgers being a “bad guy” and “biggest jerk in the league” as reasons why he wouldn’t vote him MVP. 

“I think he’s a bum,” Rodgers said. “I think he’s an absolute bum. He doesn’t know me. I don’t know who he is. Nobody knew who he was, probably, until yesterday’s comments. I mean, and I listened to the comments, but to say he had his mind made up in the summertime, in the offseason, that I have zero chance of winning MVP, in my opinion should exclude future votes. 

“His problem isn’t with me being a bad guy or the biggest jerk in the league – because he doesn’t know me. Doesn’t know me. Doesn’t know anything about me. I’ve never met him, I’ve never had lunch with him, I’ve never had an interview with him. His problem is I’m not vaccinated.” 

Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers was criticized by an MVP voter for his off-the-field conduct.

In the interview, Arkush said Rodgers “lied” about being vaccinated and potentially hurt his team by contracting COVID-19 and missing a game at the Kansas City Chiefs. Most of Arkush’s reasoning boiled down to a personal attack against the quarterback. 

Arkush walked back the comments in a radio appearance on Chicago’s 670-AM “The Score” earlier Wednesday, saying it was “a big mistake” on his part. While Arkush stood by his reasoning for not casting his vote for Rodgers, the veteran sportswriter said he “screwed up” by publicly speaking about it. 

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Whether Rodgers had heard of Arkush’s acknowledgement when he participated in Wednesday afternoon’s weekly Zoom call with reporters is uncertain. 

“If he wants to go on a crusade,” Rodgers said, “and collude and come up with an extra letter to put on the award just for this season, and make it the Most Valuable Vaccinated Player, then he should do that. But he’s a bum. And I’m not going to waste any extra time thinking about that stuff. He has no idea who I am. He’s never talked to me in his life, but it’s unfortunate that those sentiments – it’s surprising that he would even say that, to be honest.” 

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Rodgers has positioned himself as the prohibitive MVP favorite entering the season’s final week. He has thrown for 3,977 yards, 35 touchdowns and four interceptions, a 111.1 passer rating that comfortably leads the NFL. Rodgers has separated himself from what was a crowded MVP field in his past six games, closing his season with 18 touchdowns and no interceptions in that stretch. 

He’s also the quarterback for the NFL’s only 13-win team. 

Asked if his polarizing off-field comments regarding COVID-19 vaccinations and weekly candor on "The Pat McAfee Show" should be considered in MVP voting, Rodgers unsurprisingly gave a very different view. Rodgers said he does the show to give people a glimpse of who he is off the field, in the hope of showing that he isn’t the NFL’s biggest jerk. 

“I think the MVP should be about the most valuable player on the team. A lot of times it goes to the best player on the best team, and we’re the best team. So if voters want to use the offseason, or don’t like my stance being unvaccinated, that’s their prerogative. I don’t think it’s right, but that’s their prerogative.” 

Bakhtiari back at practice

David Bakhtiari (knee) and Josh Myers (finger) returned to the practice field Wednesday, as the Packers began preparations for the regular-season finale against the Detroit Lions. 

Bakhtiari had previously returned to practice in early December, but subsequently had been held out the past couple of weeks with what was described as a setback in his ACL recovery. On Wednesday, both Bakhtiari and Myers were able to take part in individual drills.

Media were not present in person for practice Wednesday, due to COVID-19 protocols. Before practice, coach Matt LaFleur laid out the plan for his returning players. 

"David will go through individual, as well as Josh Myers," LaFleur said. "Z (Za'Darius Smith) won't be out there today but those other two guys will be out there and they'll go through individual. Really today, it's mostly been walk-through type setting after we get through that individual period. So we'll see where we're at after the individual, whether or not they're going to take some of those walk-through reps." 

Corner Jaire Alexander remains on the reserve/COVID-19 list, but was activated to the roster last week. If he tests off the COVID-19 list by this weekend, he could play Sunday. It would be his first action since Week 4 and his last chance to get reps before playoff games begin. 

Receiver Randall Cobb was back at practice to kick-start another week. He has been recovering from a core injury suffered Week 12 against the Los Angeles Rams. Cobb practiced all last week, including a day in pads. 

Rodgers (toe) and defensive lineman Kingsley Keke (illness) were the only two Packers who did not participate Wednesday. However, the practice was a walk-through and participation reports are an estimate. In Detroit, quarterback Jarod Goff (knee) was a limited participant. 

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