Aaron Rodgers’ struggles have been well documented over the past year. Reasons have ranged from injuries to coaching to the general lack of playmakers to no running game to speak of to his inaccuracy. One thing that had not previously been chronicled about this, however, was his relationship with his family.
Ty Dunne, a features writer for Bleacher Report who was previously a Packers beat writer for the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel for several years, wrote a very interesting profile of Rodgers today. Dunne spoke with former teammates D.J. Williams and Jermichael Finley, as well as current Packers Jeff Janis, Davante Adams, and Letroy Guion, for the piece.
The story analyzed the myriad factors for Rodgers’ comparative on-field struggles, and revealed the following details, many of which had previously not been public:
One source, who was close to Rodgers for years but is among the many who have since been cut off by Rodgers entirely, said the quarterback has not spoken to his family since December 2014. Don’t feel too bad, J-Mike. Immediate family members don’t even have his cellphone number. When Mom and Dad sent Christmas presents to the quarterback and his girlfriend that year, the source said, those gifts were mailed back in February. He was set to be the groomsman in the wedding of one of his closest friends, the source said, and texted the day before he couldn’t attend.
He didn’t attend his grandfather’s funeral—the same grandfather he once called before every game. He fired a business manager he’s known since high school. The family was told they were no longer welcome in Green Bay. If Dad wants to attend a game now, he buys tickets on StubHub or goes through another player’s family.
While we knew vaguely about strife between Rodgers and his brothers, the rest of that is new information. Rodgers declined to speak with Dunne for the piece and has not addressed this publicly, so it is impossible to evaluate the blame for these grudges.
The piece explored a dichotomy in Rodgers. As was alluded to above, he was apparently so distant with Jermichael Finley that he never gave the tight end his phone number. Yet, he also apparently texted “happy birthday” to former Packers tight end D.J. Williams, who caught all of nine passes for the team.
Davante Adams and Jeff Janis — again, current teammates! — spoke openly about what it is like to be in Rodgers’ dog house over bad routes or drops. But Letroy Guion, who has had some well-documented off-field issues, spoke of Rodgers like he was family. Even as Rodgers’ accuracy has faltered, he still prepares manically and will make throws that make you swear he’s a sorcerer.
The broader purpose of Dunne’s piece was to wonder aloud whether Rodgers will channel the leadership to salvage the Packers’ season. They play in Washington on Sunday night; as a Packers fan, I sure hope Rodgers not only leads the team out of his rut but finds emotional equanimity.