From where John Kuhn is standing, the rift between Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers is still something that can be mended.
Kuhn, a retired Packers All-Pro fullback and longtime friend of Rodgers, shared a more hopeful perspective on the situation Wednesday night during his appearance on The Zach Gelb Show on CBS Sports, claiming he has spoken with the three-time NFL MVP since news of his unhappiness with the team broke last week and is not convinced Rodgers has completely ruled out returning to the Packers in 2021.
Here’s what Kuhn was willing to tell Gelb during Wednesday’s interview:
I will say he’s conflicted because this man loves to play the game of football. This man loves to be a Green Bay Packer and this man truly sees careers. He’s watched friends leave. He watched Brett Favre’s career towards the end. He’s watched all these things play out in front of his eyes. He’s taken notes throughout his entire career. He’s seen some situations that didn’t feel were done or finished the way that they could or should have. And he’s just trying to take his own destiny within his own hands. To that effect, I actually admire him because not many players in the NFL have that opportunity. I sure as heck didn’t. I played until everybody told me you can’t play anymore and it’s a humbling feeling and Aaron Rodgers has an opportunity to try and take a little bit of that power back.”
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Kuhn: ’70, 75%’ Chance Rodgers Returns
If you’ve turned on ESPN over the last week, you might think Rodgers has already called it quits and guaranteed personally that he isn’t coming back to the Packers. Despite credible reporting from Adam Schefter, a national NFL insider, the wild speculation from so-called analysts has grown to ridiculous proportions for a situation that is far from resolved.
For the record, the Packers have confirmed some aspects of their dispute with Rodgers, but they have also insisted they are not going to trade their reigning MVP quarterback and remain “optimistic” about their ability to keep him in Green Bay. Rodgers, on the other hand, has been silent over the last week, getting spoken for by anonymous sources rather than doing the speaking himself.
Kuhn has no intentions of putting words in Rodgers’ mouth, either, but he does seem to share the Packers’ optimism about the two sides remaining together next season.
“If I used my gut and I used everything that I hear from the Packers organization, it makes me feel really, really good,” Kuhn said. “If I used the football business acumen and see the tough spot that the Packers are in right now with that first-round pick that they used last year on Jordan Love, that’s what makes me pull back a little bit. I still think it’s somewhere around 70, 75% that Aaron Rodgers is the starting quarterback for the Packers this year.”
Kuhn Doesn’t Buy Rodgers’ GM Demand
Clearly, if Kuhn can pick up the phone and get in touch with Rodgers during the past week’s circus, he holds some credibility in terms of speaking to the three-time MVP quarterback’s mindset. He also believes he knows his former teammate well enough to say Rodgers wouldn’t demand the firing of general manager Brian Gutekunst, as Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports reported on May 1 via “a source in Rodgers’ camp.”
“I really don’t think Aaron is that cynical of a person, no matter what differences they have,” Kuhn told Gelb. “He’s proven to the Packers brass that just because he has differences with the head coach or a general manager, it doesn’t necessarily affect his play and his professionalism. I can’t see that being a direct quote from Aaron Rodgers.”
Kuhn is also optimistic there is a happy end in sight, so long as Rodgers and Gutekunst can each ease up enough to reach a compromise.
“I still believe there’s an opportunity at a resolution here,” Kuhn said. “I just think it’s going to take two men that are dug in right now and try to meet in the middle somewhere they’re both happy.”