Former NFL quarterback Alex Smith defended Aaron Rodgers in a recent interview about the Green Bay Packers star’s ongoing saga with the organization.
Rodgers has reportedly been angling his way for a trade from the organization. He told ESPN in May there was a culture issue within the franchise that didn’t sit well with him. Rodgers is holding out of training camp until the Packers trade him or tensions simmer.
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Smith, who was selected No. 1 in the 2005 NFL Draft, which saw Rodgers fall all the way to Green Bay with the 24th overall pick, has supported Rodgers through the controversy.
“Clearly it’s not an ideal situation and not what it should be,” Smith told USA Today on Friday. “I think he’s due a certain level of communication and certain level of respect beyond the average player. And I don’t think that’s asking a whole lot just to communicate. Clearly that didn’t happen over the last couple years.”
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Smith said Rodgers’ achievements on the field should automatically give him some sort of say with the franchise.
“Here’s a guy who’s given 16 years to an organization, he’s been through a lot of changes there as well, he’s coming off maybe one of the greatest quarterback seasons ever, still playing at an incredibly high level,” Smith said. “You rewind to a year ago and all the talk was: ‘Is Aaron done? Is he on the decline? Yada yada yada.’ He played right through that. They’ve been on the doorstep of the Super Bowl the last couple years. So I think it’s hard,” Smith told the newspaper.
“The way people have been treated, he’s come out and said as much. So I think that’s important in any business — not just football, but in any business and especially team sport, it’s important how you treat people. Really, I think it hasn’t been ideal there. Hopefully they can get it figured out.”
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Rodgers and the Packers’ rift exploded after the 2020 NFC Championship. Rodgers has been outspoken about the culture fit in Green Bay. Packers CEO Mark Murphy said last week the quarterback was a “complicated fella.” The team has been adamant about keeping Rodgers.