No extension, no big deal for Packers’ Aaron Rodgers
GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Aaron Rodgers sounds as if he’s more worried about swimming with sharks than a new contract.
Starting training camp without an extension from the Green Bay Packers is not really that big a deal to the two-time NFL MVP.
“I’ve seen a lot of stuff you guys have either written or that’s been written about it,” Rodgers said Thursday. “I talk with my agent daily, so I’m aware of conversations. But I’m really not too worried about it.”
He’s under contract through the 2019 season, though NFL salaries continue to escalate. Star receiver Julio Jones showed up for Atlanta Falcons camp on Thursday after the sides reached agreement to renegotiate Jones’ deal next year, avoiding a potential holdout.
Not Rodgers’ style.
“I don’t really operate like that. I have two years left on my deal,” Rodgers said when asked if he could consider holding out to turn up pressure. “They’re obviously more than willing to talk about an extension. There wasn’t any animosity on either side.”
Team president Mark Murphy is hopeful there will be an agreement, too, at some point.
“I don’t want to put a timeframe on it, but I’m confident we’ll work it out,” Murphy said after the Packers’ annual shareholders meeting on Wednesday night.
So there was Rodgers back to work for the first day of camp on Thursday. One of his first throws was a deep pass for receiver Randall Cobb, who was covered tightly by Kevin King. The cornerback went up and wrestled for the ball before appearing to come away with the pick.
“That wasn’t an interception,” Rodgers said.
So competitive, even in late July.
The quarterback fed his curiosity too when he appeared on an episode of the Discovery Channel show ”Monster Tag ” in which he put on scuba gear and dove into the Pacific Ocean to help tag a blue shark . It was a Shark Week special on the network, in which scientists studied sharks and ways to help preserve the population.
It might be easier to stiff arm a linebacker.
“I’m a lot more scared in the water,” Rodgers said.
Staying upright in the pocket seems as if it’s a less stressful task. Protection could get a huge boost if 6-foot-5 veteran right tackle Bryan Bulaga remains on track to come back from a right ACL injury.
The right side of the line was in question in the offseason after Bulaga got hurt last season. He has progressed well enough to the point that coach Mike McCarthy hopes that Bulaga will be ready for Week 1, even if the tackle is starting camp on the physically unable to perform list as a precaution.
Getting Bulaga back would leave right guard as the only position up front for the Packers to find a new starter after Jahri Evans wasn’t re-signed as a free agent.
“I’m optimistic about it, yeah,” Bulaga said about targeting the season opener. “Yeah I’m disappointed that I started on PUP. Been a tough road rehabbing and getting back to this point ... but that’s part of the process and I’ve got to keep going.”
Notes: King, the team’s top draft pick last year, also broke up a pass to Geronimo Allison on the next play after his interception. King played through a shoulder injury for much of last season before getting shut down in December. Healthy again, King displayed the type of talent that makes the Packers hopeful that they can improve in the secondary this season. “I made a couple plays where I got tangled up and had to go to the ground. I feel good,” King said. ... McCarthy said he also thinks veteran OLB Nick Perry (ankle) will be ready for the season opener after starting camp on the PUP list. ... OLB Clay Matthews may wear a visor on his helmet this season to help protect his surgically repaired nose. It got broken last month during a charity softball game after Matthews, who was pitching, was hit by a line drive by teammate Lucas Patrick. “So I ate it, walked off the field so as to not create mass hysteria, and proceeded to go through the route of surgery and all that fun stuff,” Matthews said wryly in recounting the accident. “So two weeks I’ll never get back thanks to Lucas Patrick over there.”
This version corrects a typo to show that Matthews was hit by the line drive.