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Aaron Rodgers speaks on unrest with Packers: 'It's about doing things the right way'

As the Aaron Rodgers saga continues toward June, the Packers reported to Green Bay for organized team activities without a resolution in sight.

Rodgers was not among those who arrived at Lambeau Field for the start of the Packers' OTAs.

The news of Rodgers' absence doesn't come as a surprise, not after a month that has been dominated by headlines and discussions related to his reported discontent with the Packers and the direction of the franchise. What was once a lingering matter related to his existing contract now seems much larger, and it would have been a bigger story had Rodgers reported than not.

Still, though, Rodgers' absence indicates there is indeed a divide between him and the Packers, and even if his disagreement seems to be primarily with the front office, the dispute's mere existence means those working for and supporting the Packers have little reason to rest easily at the moment. The reigning AP NFL Most Valuable Player is, of course, an essential part of what Green Bay hopes to accomplish after falling one win short of the Super Bowl in consecutive seasons, and Rodgers' absence during a period he typically attends is not a good sign for anyone.

Later Monday, Rodgers appeared on ESPN's SportsCenter, which was anchor Kenny Mayne's final show. After an initial back-and-forth, Rodgers spoke publicly for the first time on his issues with the franchise.

Mayne began by addressing the fact that Rodgers was not at OTAs.

"Thank you, Ken. Yes, I did not show up," Rodgers said.

Thereafter, Rodgers made a joke in reference to a past line from Marshawn Lynch, who was also scheduled to appear on the show.

"I'm just here so I won't get fined, Ken," Rodgers quipped.

Rodgers continued to joke a bit and steered the conversation to Mayne, who the Pro Bowler thanked and exclaimed his appreciation for regarding his ESPN tenure.

Mayne was able to redirect the conversation back to Rodgers' disharmony with the Packers, however.

Much has been made about Rodgers' perceived discontent with Green Bay drafting quarterback Jordan Love in the 2020 NFL Draft first round, but Rodgers, unsolicited, said it had nothing to do with Love's selection, but the team's "philosophy and maybe forgetting that it's about the people that makes the thing go."

"With my situation, look, it's never been about the draft pick, picking Jordan. I love Jordan. He's a great kid. A lot of fun to work together. I love the coaching staff, love my teammates, love the fan base in Green Bay. Incredible 16 years," Rodgers said. "It's just kind of about a philosophy and maybe forgetting that it is about the people that make the thing go. It's about character, it's about culture, it's about doing things the right way. A lot of this was put in motion last year and the wrench was kind of thrown into it when I won MVP and played the way I played last year. So this is just kind of, I think, a spill-out of all that. But look, man, it is about the people and that's the most important thing. Green Bay has always been about the people, from Curly Lambeau being owner and found to the 60s with [Vince] Lombardi and Bart Starr and all those incredible names to the 90s teams with coach [Mike Holmgren] and [Brett Favre] and the Minister of Defense [Reggie White] to the run that we've been on. It's about the people."

Rodgers' first public comments on his unrest with the franchise have been made, but nevertheless, no end seems to be in sight.

For now, the situation has not changed between the Packers and Rodgers. His absence, while unusual, is not stunning because of the disconnect that first came to the surface earlier this offseason.

As time progresses, it appears as if each side is firmly dug in. There's no end in sight for this stalemate.

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