Aaron Rodgers Sends Message to Packers Fans After Jets Trade

Aaron Rodgers, Packers

Getty Quarterback Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers celebrates a touchdown during a game against the Chicago Bears in December 2022.

For the first time in 15 years, Aaron Rodgers is not the starting quarterback of the Green Bay Packers.

The organization agreed on Monday, April 24, to trade Rodgers to the New York Jets for a massive haul in return. On Tuesday, Rodgers took to Instagram to send a message to the Packers franchise and its fans.

I’m not sure it’s possible to fully express the gratitude that I have to the Packers, our incredible fans, the state of Wisconsin, the thousands of players that I crossed paths with, the incredible men and women who work for the organization, and the amazing people who I got to meet along the way. … But I hope you read this and feel my heart and soul, filled with love, joy and peace about my time in green and gold.”

To the fans, THANK YOU. You made every run out of the tunnel special, every home game magical, and it was my honor to be your QB. To my teammates, I love you all and am thankful for the moments on and off the field that brought us close. I played with legends, I played with friends. Thanks for believing in me and having my back always.

This is not the end for us. I will see you again Green Bay. You’ll always have my heart.

Aaron Rodgers Ripped Fans During Packers’ Struggles Last Season

Aaron Rodgers, Jets

GettyQuarterback Aaron Rodgers, formerly of the Green Bay Packers, reacts with frustration to a play during an NFL game.

Rodgers hasn’t always been so complimentary of Packer Nation, particularly over the past few seasons after tension developed between the quarterback and the franchise. That tension, which began with the drafting of quarterback Jordan Love in 2020, led to trade requests, subtle public bickering and finger-pointing between the two sides, and more fan and media criticism than Rodgers had previously encountered in Green Bay.

The QB appeared on The Pat McAfee Show in October of last year, during which Rodgers described some Packers fans as “bitter and angry” before making reference to them as “pigs in s***.”

“They can say whatever they want. Nothing is going to sway that opinion, I don’t think,” Rodgers told McAfee. “I can come out here and extol the virtues of my team and the hope for the future and excitement about the present, but I think people who are bitter and angry, they kinda want to sit in it and wallow in it a little bit, if you will. Like a pig in s***, ya know? Just enjoy it for a bit. Let it wash all over them before they’re ready to get washed off.”

“I was talking about the fans,” Rodgers continued. “Fans want to be upset and that’s fine. That’s great. It’s still kind of a free country, so they can do whatever they want.”

Aaron Rodgers’ Legacy With Packers Will be Winning, Missed Opportunities

Aaron Rodgers, San Francisco 49ers

GettyFormer Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is sacked by San Francisco 49ers edge rusher Joey Bosa during the NFL Championship Game in January 2020.

There is no question that Rodgers has been a great quarterback over his decade and a half in the NFL. He’s thrown for 59,055 yards and 475 touchdowns on his way to four league MVP Awards and one Super Bowl Championship in 2010.

That said, Rodgers’ legacy in Green Bay is going to be about missed opportunities.

The Packers played in five NFC Championship Games during the Rodgers era (2010, 2014, 2016, 2019, 2020) earning a record of 1-4. Eight NFC North Division titles over his 15 years with Green Bay led to several playoff runs as the conference’s No. 1 seed, but the Packers never earned a trip to the big game after finishing the regular season as the top seed in the NFC.

Bart Starr star won the franchise two Super Bowls (1966, 1967), while Brett Favre captured one title and also led the team to back-to-back Super Bowl appearances (1996, 1997). Rodgers’ personal accolades outpace both of his Hall of Fame predecessors by a good margin but when it comes to winning, the clichés of “close, but no cigar” and “always the bridesmaid, never the bride” apply more aptly to Rodgers’ legacy than does the notion of the quarterback as a legendary champion.

Rodgers is a sure-fire, first-ballot Hall of Fame inductee five years after whenever it is that his career ends, and he deserves the respect and gratitude of Packers fans everywhere for one of the most successful 15-year runs in NFL history. But one Super Bowl ring still feels like Rodgers underachieved in Green Bay, which makes his parting that much more bittersweet.

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