Former teammate says Aaron Rodgers ‘willing’ to return to Packers

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Mike Roemer

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers pumps his fist after an NFL divisional playoff football game against the Los Angeles Rams Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021, in Green Bay, Wis. The Packers defeated the Rams 32-18 to advance to the NFC championship game.

GREEN BAY — As Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers continues to hold out of a mandatory team minicamp this week, one of his former teammates says he thinks Rodgers will ultimately return.

Former Packers wide receiver James Jones was recently a guest on “The Herd” with radio host Colin Cowherd, saying he’s talked to Rodgers recently and his feeling was the reigning NFL MVP was willing to come back to the team — and that he thinks Rodgers will report to training camp later this summer.

“I talk to him all the time,” Jones said, according to CBS Sports. “So when I hear everybody on here say, ‘It’s about getting the GM fired’ and these things, it’s not about that … That’s why I truly believe that it’s fixable … It’s not about getting the GM fired, and he’s told me that … He’s willing to go in there and make sure they can get this thing right and get it fixable and go out there and put the best football team on the field and try to compete for a championship.”

Jones said he wanted to keep some of his conversations with Rodgers private, but did say Rodgers has grown progressively upset over the team letting go veterans like Jordy Nelson, Julius Peppers, Clay Matthews and Jones himself over the years.

“He wants to make sure that a lot of guys like that (stick around),” Jones said. “These dudes are big in the locker room, and I think that’s what’s important to him.”

Rodgers could be fined for every day of mandatory team activities he misses, unless the team decides to consider his absence excused. Head coach Matt LaFleur wouldn’t say Monday whether the team would fine Rodgers, saying those conversations were happening behind closed doors.

Rodgers’ current teammates said Tuesday they support him, but aren’t letting the situation distract them — while also saying they hope he does return.

Former first round pick Jordan Love has been running the first-team offense for the Packers during minicamp while Rodgers holds out. Love said Wednesday he feels he is “100%” ready if he was called on to start for the Packers in Week 1 against the New Orleans Saints.

Love reportedly completed 20 of 31 passes during Wednesday’s practice, including leading a “game-winning” 2-minute drill with the first-team offense.

Packers training camp officially begins on July 27th.