Aug 14, 2021; Baltimore, Maryland, USA;  New Orleans Saints quarterback Jameis Winston (2) drops back to pass during the second quarter against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Saints, Packers set for unique encounter in Jacksonville

Recent meetings between the New Orleans Saints and the Green Bay Packers were defined by meetings between future Hall of Fame quarterbacks Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers.

But things will be different when the Saints and the Packers open the season Sunday afternoon with Jameis Winston starting for New Orleans in his team’s home opener played in Jacksonville, Fla.

Brees has retired to the broadcast booth and Rodgers is back with the Packers after an offseason of acrimony.

New to the equation is a neutral-site feel with the clash of expected NFC contenders moved from the Superdome after the Saints evacuated New Orleans ahead of Hurricane Ida late last month.

“Every time you go into New Orleans you know it’s going to be rocking and you know you’re going to have to have a silent count and hand signals in critical situations like third down, red zone and two minute,” Green Bay coach Matt LaFleur said. “We might alter our process in that regard depending on how loud it is in Jacksonville.”

Both fan bases have a history or traveling well to see their teams away from home. The location and the weather conditions could favor New Orleans.

“You can’t replicate those (hot and humid) conditions (in Wisconsin),” LaFleur said. “I guess we could go inside and crank up the heat, but I don’t want our guys practicing on turf all week long.”

Rodgers’ public dissatisfaction with the Packers organization — namely general manager Brian Gutekunst — seems to have been at least diluted since the two sides agreed to an adjusted contract during the offseason.

“He’s playing at a really high level,” LaFleur said of Rodgers, the 2020 NFL MVP. “He’s in a really good mindset and has the right mentality. He’s done a really good job of leading these younger players.”

For the first time since 2005, the Saints are being led by a quarterback other than Brees. Winston, signed as a free agent before last season, beat out former Packer Taysom Hill in a preseason battle.

“He’s done a great job and he’s earned that spot,” coach Sean Payton said of Winston. “I know I’ve seen growth and someone who was extremely vested in this process and is excited about the start of the season.”

Hill, who slimmed down during the offseason in anticipation of focusing on being a quarterback, shifts back to the jack-of-all-trades role in which he has thrived since being claimed off waivers from Green Bay at the end of the 2017 preseason.

He has seen snaps at quarterback as a dual threat, also aligning at running back, wide receiver, tight end and on special teams during his career.

“We’ll look closely into finding ways to help Jameis play well and we’ll also look closely at finding ways to utilize Taysom and finding where to play him,” Payton said. “They’re both real good football players and we’re going to need both of them this year.”

The Saints canceled their final preseason game, which was scheduled against Arizona in the Superdome on Aug. 29, the day before Ida made landfall. They have been in the Dallas-Forth Worth area and conducted their game-week preparations at TCU.

–Field Level Media

Aug 14, 2021; Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA;  Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers throws a pass during warmups prior to a game against the  Houston Texans at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Aaron Rodgers ‘definitely would’ve taken’ Jeopardy! job

Aaron Rodgers has a job as the starting quarterback of the Green Bay Packers.

Now, should Rodgers wish to pursue another gig — that being the host of Jeopardy! — well, the job is open again.

Mike Richards stepped down as the new host of Jeopardy! on Friday after offensive comments from his past were brought to light. Richards, who also serves as the quiz show’s executive producer, officially was named as its host just last week.

When asked about Jeopardy! on Sirius XM’s Mad Dog Sports Radio prior to the news of Richards’ decision, Rodgers admitted he would have taken the role provided it worked around his football schedule.

“Yeah, I definitely would’ve (accepted the job),” Rodgers said. “I mean, if they would have figured out a way to make it work with my schedule, yeah, for sure.”

The iconic game show had been using guest hosts since the death of Alex Trebek last fall from pancreatic cancer.

Rodgers had a 10-episode run as guest host. He earned good reviews for his stint, along with more than $230,000 for charity.

Rodgers admitted on the Pat McAfee Show at the time that he could see holding down both jobs.

“I don’t think I’d need to give up football to do it,” Rodgers said in April.

“They film 46 days a year. I worked 187 this year in Green Bay. That gives me 178 days to do ‘Jeopardy!’ So I feel like I could fit 46 into that 178 and make it work. It would be a dream job for sure, and I’m not shy at all about saying I want the job.”

–Field Level Media

Aug 14, 2021; Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA;  Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers throws a pass during warmups prior to a game against the  Houston Texans at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

After considering retirement, Aaron Rodgers vows to enjoy 2021

Aaron Rodgers says he plans to enjoy every minute of his 2021 season with the Green Bay Packers, a team he reportedly swore at one point to never suit up for again.

Rodgers recently said on the Dan Le Batard and Friends Podcast that he was “50/50” regarding whether to retire, as recently as the week before the Packers reported to camp. But on Wednesday, after Green Bay’s joint practice with the New York Jets, Rodgers spoke to reporters about what he envisioned for his 17th NFL season.

“I don’t want a farewell tour,” Rodgers said Wednesday. “I don’t know what’s going to happen after the season, but I’m going to enjoy it with the right perspective, for sure, and not look at it as I’m getting through this. I’m going to enjoy the hell out of all of it.”

Rodgers felt that when the Packers selected quarterback Jordan Love in the first round of the 2020 NFL draft, a proverbial clock started on the remainder of his time with the storied franchise.

“And I thought unless there was something in the season that really made me feel like I’m going to be here past 2021, that maybe this would be my last year,” he said. “I didn’t want to be going into a year with some sort of … as a lame duck, like I said. I didn’t think that was fair to what I accomplished and what I mean to this team, and nothing really changed in that regard. I went into the offseason, that (it) could have been it.”

Rodgers, 37, returned to the Packers only after the team made several concessions to assuage him, which included acquiring old teammate Randall Cobb in a trade and restructuring his contract so that a departure from Green Bay in 2022, should Rodgers desire it, would be easier.

The reigning NFL MVP is not expected to play in the preseason. Love recently had an MRI exam on his injured throwing shoulder that came back clean, but Green Bay held him out of Wednesday’s practice as a precaution.

–Field Level Media

Green Bay Packers linebacker Clay Matthews, left, points to Super Bowl MVP Aaron Rodgers after giving him a championship belt after the win against the Pittsburgh Steelers during Super Bowl XLV at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas on Feb. 6, 2011.

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Aaron Rodgers’ wish list: Reunion with Clay Matthews on Packers

Aaron Rodgers told the Green Bay front office that he wanted Randall Cobb back in a Packers uniform, and general manager Brian Gutekunst pulled off a deal with the Houston Texans to return the wide receiver to the team in July.

Now, Rodgers wants to see linebacker Clay Matthews back in Green Bay.

Cobb and Rodgers shared a photo of Matthews on their Instagram stories late Friday, with Rodgers adding the caption “BRING HIM BACK #”. Left tackle David Bakhtiari followed suit.

Matthews, 35, played in Green Bay from 2009-18, earning All-Pro honors in 2010 and being selected to six Pro Bowls. He was a key contributor on the 2010 team that won Super Bowl XLV, defeating the Pittsburgh Steelers 31-25.

In 10 seasons with Green Bay, Matthews made 482 tackles (121 for loss) and had 83 ½ sacks, six interceptions, 15 forced fumbles and 41 passes defensed.

Matthews left in free agency following the 2018 season and signed a two-year, $9.25 million deal with the Los Angeles Rams, who released him on March 19, 2020. He sat out the season.

In 2019, Matthews had 37 tackles and eight sacks for the Rams.

–Field Level Media

Green Bay Packers quarterback Jordan Love (10) and quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) participate in training camp Wednesday, July 28, 2021, in Green Bay, Wis.  Dan Powers/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin

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Aaron Rodgers gives way to Jordan Love in preseason

Jordan Love will be the starting quarterback for the Green Bay Packers in the preseason, giving the 2020 first-round pick his first action as a pro.

Packers coach Matt LaFleur said Tuesday that Love will get the start Saturday against the Houston Texans and will play the majority of the game. Kurt Benkert will finish it.

Love hasn’t played in a game since the 2020 Senior Bowl. The 2020 NFL preseason was canceled, due to COVID, and he did not suit up for any games in his rookie season.

LaFleur said Aaron Rodgers will likely not play in any of the three preseason games, which is par for the course. Rodgers hasn’t played more than three series in a preseason game since 2015 and played just one series (seven snaps) in 2018.

Rodgers, the reigning league MVP, reported to training camp after skipping everything else in an offseason standoff with the team. He and the Packers reached a contract compromise to keep him in Green Bay for this season, at least.

–Field Level Media

July 28, 2021; Green Bay, WI, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12), head coach Matt LaFleur and quarterbacks coach Luke Getsy, right, participate in training camp Wednesday, July 28, 2021, in Green Bay, Wis. Mandatory Credit: Dan Powers-USA TODAY NETWORK

Packers to limit Aaron Rodgers’ preseason throws

With no formal offseason preparation, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers will be limited in the preseason, coach Matt LaFleur told reporters Friday.

Locked in a stalemate with the Packers over his future this offseason, Rodgers didn’t participate in any team workouts before reporting to training camp this week.

LaFleur said he met with Rodgers and discussed the amount of throws he’ll make each day to spare “wear and tear” on his arm. He didn’t specify the number but said the Packers will be keeping count.

ESPN reported that in the past three days, he averaged 14 throws during 11-on-11 drills.

LaFleur also confirmed Friday that backup quarterback Jordan Love will take the majority of preseason reps.

Rodgers, the reigning league MVP, said he considered retirement but he and the Packers reached a contract compromise to keep him in Green Bay.

ESPN reported he signed a reworked contract in which the Packers are voiding the 2023 season from the deal.

The report said that the Packers also removed certain forfeiture provisions from the contract that would have allowed the team to try to recoup portions of Rodgers’ signing bonus should he retire.

Rodgers, 37, shared both the physical and mental preparation he did in the offseason via social media and addressed the mental aspect of sports this week.

“I think it’s important that we work on our mental state. As you’ve seen with Simone Biles, I think there needs to be more conversation around that,” Rodgers told reporters. “For me, it was just about clearing any of the clutter. That’s what I tried to do this offseason by adjusting some habits and spending some time with my loved ones, traveling as safely and as often as I possibly could and then making sure I was ready to go if I came back.”

–Field Level Media

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, head coach Matt LaFleur and quarterbacks coach Luke Getsy look on during Wednesday's practice.

Nfl Green Bay Packers Training Camp

Report: Packers agree to void ’23 from Aaron Rodgers’ deal

Aaron Rodgers signed a reworked contract with the Green Bay Packers on Thursday, ESPN reported, with the Packers voiding the 2023 season from the deal.

The report said that the Packers also removed certain forfeiture provisions from the contract that would have allowed the team to try to recoup portions of Rodgers’ signing bonus.

Green Bay offered concessions to Rodgers to appease the reigning MVP quarterback and persuade him to report to the team for training camp. Over the offseason, Rodgers made clear he was unhappy with how the franchise had gone about its business and hadn’t given him a larger say in matters relating to the team.

Of those concessions, it appears one was a trade with the Houston Texans to acquire former Packers receiver Randall Cobb, one of Rodgers’ old favorite targets.

“Obviously without Aaron (Rodgers), I don’t think we would be pursuing that,” Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst said Thursday. “Randall is still a really good player. … This was a very important thing for Aaron, and that’s why we did it.”

Now Rodgers is not locked into staying Green Bay as long. It was previously reported that the Packers were prepared to agree with Rodgers to review his situation at the end of the 2021 season.

–Field Level Media

Jul 28, 2021; Green Bay, WI, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) talks with quarterback Jordan Love (10) during the first day of training camp. Mandatory Credit: Mark Hoffman/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel-USA TODAY NETWORK

Aaron Rodgers considered retiring, wants personnel input

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers didn’t hold back in the Wednesday press conference marking his return to the team and the end to an acrimonious offseason.

In the extensive session, Rodgers said he mulled retirement and wants input on personnel moves.

A day after reporting to training camp, Rodgers laid out how his offseason of discontent began in February.

That’s when Rodgers said he expressed his desire to “help the organization learn from some of the mistakes in the past.”

“I just want to be involved in conversations that affect my ability to do my job,” Rodgers said. “As that progressed from that point, nothing really changed on that front.”

Regarding his own future with the team, Rodgers said he wasn’t given assurances beyond the 2021 season.

“That really wasn’t given at any time,” Rodgers said. “So for me, I had to assess the situation, not necessarily wanting to be a lame-duck quarterback, especially after an MVP season, which I think you can understand.”

Feeling like he was batting 0-for-2 on two fronts that were important to him, a slighted Rodgers took a different tone in March.

“I felt like if you can’t commit to me past 2021 and I’m not part of your recruiting process in free agency, if I’m not a part of the future, then instead of letting me be a lame-duck quarterback, if you want to make a change and move forward, then go ahead and do it,” Rodgers said.

Then came April, when the initial report introduced the notion that Rodgers did not want to return this season. That’s when the Packers got interested in enticing him back, according to Rodgers.

“I think what basically happened is they said, ‘We’ll give you some money now,’” Rodgers said. “Let’s see if we can throw some money at you. I said from the start it wasn’t about the money. To me, it was bigger than this. It was about trying to be a resource for the organization that I care about and love so much.”

Then it was a summer of status quo for Rodgers, who skipped OTA and mandatory minicamp while mulling whether he wanted to return.

“I was really working on myself and my own mental state throughout the summer and at various points decided if I wanted to even keep playing, but the fire still burns and I wanted to be on the football team,” Rodgers said.

“There’s still a big competitive hole in my body that I need to fill,” Rodgers said. “And as I got back into my workouts I just realized that I know I can still play and I want to still play, and as long as feel I can give 100 percent to the team, then I should still play.”

–Field Level Media

Houston Texans wide receiver Randall Cobb (18) makes a touchdown catch defended by Tennessee Titans cornerback Kristian Fulton (26) during the third quarter at Nissan Stadium Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020 in Nashville, Tenn.

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WR Randall Cobb confirms trade to Packers

Wide receiver Randall Cobb appeared to confirm that he is returning to the Green Bay Packers.

Cobb took to social media on Wednesday and wrote “I’M COMING HOME!” accompanied by an old picture of him wearing his Packers uniform.

Multiple media outlets reported the Packers were close to re-acquiring Cobb, who spent his first eight NFL seasons playing for Green Bay.

Cobb’s potential return to the Packers comes on the heels of reigning NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers returning to the team on Tuesday. This marked the first time that Rodgers was with Green Bay since his exit interview after the team’s 31-26 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the NFC Championship Game.

Cobb, who will turn 31 next month, earned a Pro Bowl selection in 2014 after recording career-high totals in receptions (91), receiving yards (1,287) and touchdowns (12).

He had 38 catches for 441 yards and three touchdowns in 10 games last season with the Houston Texans.

In 130 NFL games, Cobb has 563 receptions for 6,793 yards and 47 touchdowns with the Packers, Dallas Cowboys and Texans.

The Packers made Cobb a second-round pick in the 2011 NFL Draft out of Kentucky.

–Field Level Media

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) during the 3rd quarter of the Green Bay Packers 32-18 win over the Los Angeles Rams during the NFC divisional playoff game Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021, at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis.Packers Rams 04644

Packers QB Aaron Rodgers shows up for training camp

Aaron Rodgers reported for work on Tuesday morning sporting sunglasses and a man bun.

The quarterback’s casual look notwithstanding, this marked the first time that Rodgers was with the Green Bay Packers since his exit interview after the team’s 31-26 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the NFC Championship Game.

Rodgers’ private plane landed at the Green Bay airport late Monday night. He promptly jumped into a waiting car and sped off.

Rodgers, fresh off being selected the NFL’s Most Valuable Player for the third time in his career, skipped the Packers’ mandatory minicamp last month after expressing frustration with the team’s front office.

His presence on Tuesday allows Rodgers to avoid the $50,000 daily fine for sitting out camp-related events.

Rodgers, 37, has played with the Packers for his entire 16-year career. He has passed for 51,245 yards and 412 touchdowns, and he won a Super Bowl ring with the franchise at the end of the 2010 season.

–Field Level Media