Jordan Love prompted Aaron Rodgers to head for the tequila.
Speaking with The Ringer’s Kyle Brandt, Rodgers revealed that he was surprised that the Green Bay Packers went with a quarterback after trading up in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft.
“I was watching the draft and thinking about what receiver might be there,” Rodgers told Brandt, mentioning he liked LSU’s Justin Jefferson, Clemson’s Tee Higgins, and Arizona State’s Brandon Aiyuk. But with the Packers on the clock with the 26th pick, Rodgers got a one-word text from his agent: “Quarterback.”
“I love scotch, but I’ve been drinking some sipping tequila lately as well,” Rodgers said of his first reaction to the Love pick. “Once I got that text, I went to the pantry. I poured myself about four fingers. I knew it was going to be one of those nights.”
Rodgers went on to expand on his disappointment, saying he felt like the Packers were only “a couple of players away” from making it to the Super Bowl, especially after being just one game away last season.
“But at the same time, I understand it’s a business,” he later admitted, while at the same time pushing back on parallels between the Packers’ current quarterback situation and where the Packers were when they drafted him as Brett Favre’s heir apparent.
“In 2004, the Packers were 10-6 and lost in the first round of the playoffs. We were 13-3 and one game from the Super Bowl and won a playoff game at home,” he said. “Obviously a little different circumstances. Not to mention, Brett had talked about retiring for a few years before that and I’ve talked about playing into my 40s.”
But even amidst his disappointment, Rodgers is resolving to be an asset for Love — even while keeping a tight grip on his starting spot.
“I just told [Jordan] ‘Congrats, man. I know what you’re going through. It’s super exciting. I’m excited to work with you.’ Which I am. I understand it’s a business. I understand the nature of the business. But I’m not here abdicating my spot by any means, that’s not going to happen.”
However, despite his confidence, Rodgers does acknowledge that someday — perhaps sooner rather than later — the Packers will likely move on, in part because it’s no longer realistic for quarterback prospects to sit and develop for years at a time, as was the case when Rodgers was drafted.
“Now, quarterbacks are playing earlier. It gives some latitude for young coaches and GMs to play their guys,” he said. “And I get it. I really do. I don’t harbor any ill will about it.”