Yesterday Rodgers appeared on the “Jim Rome Show” and made it known in no uncertain terms that he wanted Brett Favre accepted back into the Green Bay Packers family for good. He showed once again, like any good man would, that he holds no ill will toward Favre. That is despite having the longtime Packers quarterback attempt to get his job back after he retired for the first time. When the Packers stood behind Rodgers and told Favre that they were moving on, Rodgers took the high road. He was blunt at the time, but understood that he, too, had to make it clear he was the guy who would lead the Packers from that day on out.
We all know how it turned out. Favre was traded to the Jets, played a season, retired, and unretired once more to join the Vikings in 2009. His revenge against the team that sent him packing was severe – he beat the Packers twice that year and nearly led the Vikings to the Super Bowl. The tables turned in 2010 when Favre was talked into playing one more year with the Vikings. His demise was significant as the Packers beat the Vikings twice en route to a Super Bowl win.
Through it all, Rodgers tended to business and didn’t show animosity toward his former teammate.
Taking the high road once again, Rodgers took us another step toward peace and acceptance with Favre. Packers President Mark Murphy told fans on the Packers Tailgate Tour that he wanted Favre back and Rodgers followed that up yesterday by saying this:
“It’s been too long. I think our country and the state of Wisconsin, these people are people of second, third and fourth chances, and I think it’s time to let the healing process begin for those who are still upset about what went down.
“I was totally OK with being out front of that, and I’m very secure of the things I’ve been able to accomplish with the team and individually here in Green Bay, and excited about the chance to see him again and get his number retired here before he goes into Canton,” Rodgers said.
If that doesn’t give us a clear picture of how he feels, nothing will.
But that’s not all. Rodgers again showed us that when he talks, people listen – and for good reason.
Longtime Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher retired yesterday after 13 years of blowing up running backs and destroying offensive schemes. Though his success against the Green Bay Packers wasn’t the greatest, he had some of his best games against he and his team’s arch-rival.
Rodgers saw many of those games, and understood what the guy meant to the game.
Here’s what he had to say about Urlacher:
“I want to congratulate Brian on a tremendous career. We have had our share of battles amid what is in my opinion the league’s greatest rivalry, but I’ll always have the utmost respect for his professionalism and the way he played the game. He was a complete player on the field and a really good guy off of it. And while I won’t miss him making plays against us, I will miss the interaction with him during games and the challenges he presented to us in our preparation that forced us to raise our level of play. You think about the lineage of players who have played that position for that team: Butkus, Singletary, Urlacher. It’s an incredible list and is truly beyond any comparison. Brian was the ultimate competitor, leader, and a no-doubt Hall of Famer, and I want to wish him the absolute best in whatever he chooses to go on and do.”
Again, Rodgers knows a leader when he sees one … because he is one.
When he talks, people listen. They follow.
Is there any wonder the guy has won a Super Bowl, was a Super Bowl MVP and continues to direct the Green Bay Packers as the highest paid player in the NFL?
Aaron Rodgers. Leader. Listen. Follow.