Eventually, the student who pushes the master becomes the master himself, pushed by another student. It happened with Luke Skywalker, and it has happened with Aaron Rodgers.
Brett Favre was the reigning quarterback in Green Bay when Rodgers arrived, but refused to train Rodgers to take his job. That led to years of acrimony between the two. But the chill has lifted, and at least according to Favre, Rodgers understands why Favre acted the way he did at the time.
One team, two legends: the Green Bay story
Rodgers joined the Packers in 2005, but didn’t start until 2008. There’s an unspoken world in that sentence, mainly because Favre kept both Rodgers and retirement at arm’s length for years. Rodgers played on Green Bay’s scout team, getting reps and learning systems, while Favre ran the show at the pro level with zero interest in helping his future replacement.
“My contract doesn’t say I have to get Aaron Rodgers ready to play,” Favre said at the time. “Now hopefully he watches me and gets something from that.” That quote rebounded around the NFL, and Rodgers took it to heart, eventually replacing Favre for good when the Packers dealt away Favre in 2008.
New perspectives on old wounds
Rodgers has long taken slights as motivation — remember, he’s the guy who vowed revenge on all of the 23 teams who passed on him in the 2005 draft — and he looked upon Favre’s dismissal as an ongoing insult. Since then, he has shaped himself into possibly the best NFL quarterback in history … albeit one let down by his front office, which hasn’t given him enough weapons to win more than one Super Bowl.
But age brings wisdom, and with it perspective. Rodgers and Favre have joked about Favre’s unwillingness to retire back in 2013:
… and apparently they stay in contact now that neither one is threatening the other.
According to Favre, he and Rodgers discussed the infamous “contract” quote just last week. “He said, ‘I get it now. I get what you were saying, or how you carried yourself,’” Favre said, speaking on the “Wilde & Tausch” radio show.
“There is no clause that says, ‘You groom the next guy who’s going to take your job, or else.’ It doesn’t work that way.”
Rodgers isn’t exactly ready to start grooming his replacement; he’s still playing at league-leading levels. Plus, at the moment neither Brett Hundley nor DeShone Kizer appear ready to kick Rodgers out of his spot. But there will come a day, whether this season or 2020, when a scout-team quarterback starts to distinguish himself. And at that point, Rodgers will have to decide whether to follow Favre’s route or embrace the youngster. It’ll make for fascinating days in Green Bay.
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