Green Bay, WI

If Rodgers Leaves, the Packers Shouldn’t Ever Retire His Number

Walter Rhein

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What is it about Green Bay that creates so much drama with hall of fame caliber quarterbacks? Prior to the 2008 season, there was was a huge controversy created when Brett Favre decided he didn’t want to retire after all. Expecting to be welcomed back with open arms, he was summarily traded and Aaron Rodgers was handed the reins.

Now, 3 MVPs and a Super Bowl Trophy later, it might be Rodgers turn to get traded. But there’s a big difference between these two situations.

Everyone who followed Brett Favre’s career got a little annoyed with his off-season retirement speculation. By the time 2008 rolled around, it had been going on for years. Favre seemed to need the ego stroking of being begged to come back.

But after Favre threw a really stupid interception in the NFC Championship game following the 2007 season, the head office came to the conclusion that the gunslinger no longer had what it took to win a Super Bowl.

They moved on.

As it turned out, they were right. Favre would go on to throw another dumb interception to lose yet another NFC Championship game after the 2009 season. This time he was wearing a Minnesota Vikings jersey and Packer fans found the moment rather amusing.

As the years went by, fences were mended, and Favre eventually returned to Green Bay to have his number retired.

The same scenario might not play out for Aaron Rodgers.

When you look at the statistics and the resume, it certainly seems like nobody else should ever wear number 12 in Green Bay ever again. But Aaron Rodgers wants out, even though he is under contract, even though the team has repeatedly expressed that they would like him to return.

The way Aaron Rodgers is behaving right now is not an example of loyalty. It’s not admirable. It’s not something befitting of a legacy player.

There’s a reason that you don’t see Terrell Owens’s number retired anywhere. If you cause major problems for a franchise, you shouldn’t expect to be fondly remembered.

The way Aaron Rodgers is behaving right now isn’t acceptable, and it’s up to the Green Bay front office to send a message. You don’t reward this kind of behavior. You punish it.

People often say that athletes are role models. Well, kids today certainly don’t need to see some entitled athlete who refuses to honor a contract he signed. It’s not like the Packers are paying Rodgers minimum wage after all.

Favre was traded when he didn’t want to be. Years later, he came back to have his number retired. Rodgers, on the other hand, is trying to force his way out the door. If he doesn’t want to come back, neither the fans nor the team should ever consider celebrating his return.

That being said, all Aaron Rodgers has to do to protect his legacy is honor his word. There’s still time for him to do so. The Green Bay Packers are bigger than any one individual player. They are a team. It would be nice if their field general also showed what it meant to be a team player.

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Walter Rhein is an author with Perseid Press. He also does a weekly column for The Writing Cooperative on Medium.

Chippewa Falls, WI
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