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Packers president on Aaron Rodgers: ‘He’s a complicated fella,’ as Ted Thompson used to say

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The biggest story in the NFL this offseason is the ongoing Aaron Rodgers drama in Green Bay. Rodgers has apparently been unhappy with Packers management for quite a while, and he’s made his frustrations known in various ways. 

He’s talked to players both on his team and around the league. He’s refused to come to organized team activities and/or minicamp. He’s done interviews on TV and the radio. He’s gone on a conspicuously-timed vacation with his fiancee, actress Shailene Woodley, and friends. He’s hosted Jeopardy and suggested he could just do that job full-time instead of or in addition to playing football. 

Obviously, this has put quite a bit of stress on the Packers’ front office, from general manager Brian Gutekunst to president Mark Murphy. 

Murphy said last week that the Rodgers situation has “divided our fan base.” He had more to say at an event at Lambeau Field on Thursday, and he drew inspiration from former Packers general manager Ted Thompson.

“I’m often reminded though… of Ted Thompson, as most of you know, just a great general manager, passed away (earlier this year),” Murphy said, per NBC26 in Green Bay. “(Thompson) often talked about Aaron, that he’s a… and it wasn’t just Aaron, a lot of different players. He would say ‘He’s a complicated fella.'”

Thompson was Green Bay’s GM from 2005 through 2017, after which he stepped aside to become a senior advisor to football operations. He’s the one who drafted Rodgers (while the team still employed Brett Favre) and who helped pick Gutekunst as his own successor. He’d likely know better than most whether or not Rodgers is a “complicated fella,” given their long relationship. He’d also likely know better than most how difficult it is to build a succession plan at quarterback, and to navigate the extended timeline of a breakup with a player who can still contribute at a high level. It’s therefore not surprising that Murphy would choose his words at a time like this.