Rodgers more outspoken, but OK with no Lynch trade

For a player who chooses his words carefully, Green Bay Packers

quarterback Aaron Rodgers is having a fairly outspoken week.

First, the Green Bay quarterback publicly disagreed with his

team’s offensive game plan in a narrow victory over Detroit. Then

he was voted the Packers’ new union representative and attended an

event on behalf of the NFL Players Association, putting himself in

the middle of what is becoming a tense standoff between players and

owners over a new collective bargaining agreement.

Even as Rodgers begins to explore what it means to be one the

league’s rising stars, he passed on the chance to criticize his

bosses for failing to make a trade for running back Marshawn

Lynch.

Buffalo traded Lynch to Seattle this week for a pair of

undisclosed draft picks.

”Marshawn is a friend of mine, and I wish him nothing but the

best,” Rodgers said Wednesday. ”I had the opportunity to play

with him when he was a freshman and he had an incredible season

that year. But you know what? I like our guys. I really do.”

Lynch is a former teammate of Rodgers’ at Cal, and would have

filled a significant need for a team that has had a hard time

running the ball since losing Ryan Grant to a season-ending ankle

injury in the first game of the season.

When Rodgers was asked last month what he would say if the

Packers’ front office asked him about a potential trade for Lynch,

he said, ”Bring him on.”

Rodgers didn’t completely back away from that statement

Wednesday, saying a team never can have enough talented players.

But Rodgers insists the Packers can win with the players they

have.

And even after watching the Minnesota Vikings add wide receiver

Randy Moss in a trade, Rodgers said he isn’t frustrated by the

Packers’ lack of splashy personnel moves under general manager Ted

Thompson.

”That’s not my decision,” Rodgers said. ”That’s a personnel

decision. So I think I just realize, you can have requests or wants

or needs, and I’m not saying that Lynch was one of them. I never

once said anything to the personnel department about Marshawn

Lynch. But you guys (the media) asked me how I feel about it, I

said, ‘Bring it on.’ You can’t have enough good players. But that’s

not my place. I play, they make those decisions. Coaches

coach.”

Coaches do indeed coach – something Rodgers was reminded of this

week as the team prepares to play at Washington on Sunday.

After the offense was held scoreless in the second half and the

Packers barely beat the Lions at home Sunday, Rodgers hinted that

he didn’t agree with the team’s approach on offense and wanted to

see the Packers use more multiple-receiver shotgun formations.

Rodgers said he and coach Mike McCarthy talked this week, like

they usually do, and are on the same page.

”I get paid to play the game, and Mike gets paid to be the head

coach,” Rodgers said. ”So I know my role and he knows his. I know

where I’m at on the chain.”

That said, Rodgers’ stature took a step up on Monday when his

teammates voted him in as the team’s new player representative to

the union. With a lockout a possibility next year, Rodgers knows he

will have to take public stands that might not always be popular

with management or fans.

”It’s an honor to be voted in by my peers, my teammates, that

means a lot to me,” Rodgers said. ”It gives me another

opportunity to speak for the team and as my leadership role

increases, that’s a challenge and an opportunity that I look

forward to. But we’ll meet those bridges when we get there.”

Rodgers said he wanted to take an active role in upcoming

negotiations.

”I think it’s important in that this is the most important

negotiation of my career, and I think it’s important we have guys

that are player reps who are passionate about their sport, and want

to see it advanced to the next generation,” Rodgers said. ”That’s

why I’m looking forward to this challenge.”