Why Are Aaron Rodgers' Former Packers Teammates Going Around Ripping Him?

April 11, 2019 - 10:06 am

(CBS Sports Radio) Former Green Bay Packers players Greg Jennings and Jermichael Finley haven't been bashful about criticizing Aaron Rodgers over the years, most recently in a story by Bleacher Report. Another former Packer, Brady Poppinga, dropped by CBS Sports Radio to discuss the reasons for this, as well as analyze the sources of their discontent.

Poppinga, who played for the Packers from 2005-10, said Jennings got "lost in the shuffle" as the Packers transitioned from Brett Favre to Rodgers -- and as Jordy Nelson emerged. Jennings had several great seasons for the Packers, but his role ultimately diminished. He signed with the Vikings in 2013.

"Greg left bitter," Poppinga said on "Reiter Than You" on Wednesday night. "He left surprised. He left shocked. Because the very vision that he had for himself -- he had looked at himself as potentially the next legendary Packers receiver -- didn't come to fruition, and guess who he blamed it on? Aaron Rodgers. He blamed all that on Aaron even though it has nothing to do with Aaron other than Aaron didn't throw him the ball.

"Is it Aaron's fault that he had a connection and an intimate chemistry with Jordy Nelson? Is it Aaron's fault that he's not going to Greg like Greg wanted him to? No. And so, that's where Greg's issues come from. He looks at Aaron as the source of why he didn't become what he felt like he should have been and was more than capable of in terms of this legendary receiver with the Packers because he wasn't being featured as much as some other guys."

Poppinga said Finley's discontent, on the other hand, is a "mystery."

"Aaron loved that guy," Poppinga said. "Aaron threw him the ball all the time as much as he could in the middle of the field. Unfortunately, he broke his neck. Jermichael pops off about Aaron, and I'm always scratching my head like, 'Why is he doing this?' I'm not sure. But Greg, I can understand it. You have certain expectations and the young guy comes in there and all of a sudden he's not throwing him the ball as much and those expectations just don't get met and you're now playing for the Dolphins."

Still, if multiple teammates criticize Rodgers' personality and leadership style, might there be something to it?

"His ego is one that's been misinterpreted -- and it's because he's so confident in himself," Poppinga said. "There were times ... (when) you could say Aaron was cocky. He was a guy that was not afraid to call his shot. What ultimately turns cockiness -- or a big ego -- into actually being true self-confidence is when somebody fulfills on those shots and they follow through with them. That's what Aaron's done ever since he showed up as a young little (20-something). Now he's a 35-year-old. He has called his shots and he's followed through with them.

"So to say that he's egotistical and cocky, that's how he operates. He is not going to worry about how you define him. He's going to walk around confident, he's going to call his shot, he's going to tell you he's going to take your job away from you. If you go out there in the heat of competition and you do something that he feels like is going to distance you from turning out to be successful, then he's going to rip you apart -- because he wants to win and he wants to make it happen. There's no coach that's immune to that. He's going to go after coaches. That was our culture."