As draft weekend kicked off, Aaron Rodgers swiped the biggest headlines.
Unhappy with his contract situation in Green Bay, the disgruntled quarterback's representatives reportedly have let it be known he'd like out. Other teams called to check in on Rodgers' availability. The whole situation became a storm cloud hovering over the weekend.
Meanwhile, the Packers have been steadfast that they aren't planning to trade the AP NFL Most Valuable Player.
NFL Network's Tom Pelissero immediately reported a "zero percent chance" the Packers would trade Rodgers. General manager Brian Gutekunst said Rodgers was the team's "leader ... the guy that makes this thing go," and had no plans for that to change.
On Saturday, Packers CEO Mark Murphy added his voice to the chorus from Green Bay, insisting Rodgers is going nowhere.
"This is an issue that we have been working on for several months," Murphy wrote of working on Rodgers' contract. "Brian Gutekunst, Matt LaFleur and I have flown out on a number of occasions to meet with Aaron. We are very much aware of Aaron's concerns and have been working with him (and his agent Dave Dunn) to resolve them. We remain committed to Aaron in 2021 and beyond. He is not only a tremendously talented player, but has developed into a true leader for us. The relationship that Aaron has forged with Matt and the other offensive coaches has propelled us to the brink of the Super Bowl in two straight years. We look forward to competing for another Super Bowl championship with Aaron as our leader."
Since the Packers traded up to draft Jordan Love in the first round last year, Rodgers' future in Green Bay has been up in the air. Rodgers responded by winning the NFL MVP. Now he wants greater commitment from the club in the form of a contract adjustment.
Rodgers and his reps put pressure on the club this week to commit to him or move on.
With the early portion of the draft over, there is no hurry to come to a conclusion. Unless Rodgers says point blank he's committed to Green Bay in 2021, the rumors will continue to fly, particularly as we get closer to June.
Further questions swirled when the Packers once again passed on using a first-round pick on an offensive weapon. Murphy defended the choice, noting that Eric Stokes is a talented corner.
"Oh, and by the way, we drafted a pretty good player in the first round, in cornerback Eric Stokes from the University of Georgia," Murphy wrote. "We had him rated very highly and I saw a lot of smiles on the faces of both scouts and coaches when the pick was announced. The way our game has evolved, you never have enough good cornerbacks."
Unfortunately for Murphy and the rest of the Packers brass, their comments and persistence in debunking Rodgers rumors won't stop it from being the biggest story swirling in the coming weeks.
"I can't fathom [him] not being in Green Bay," Packers coach Matt LaFleur said Saturday after the 2021 NFL Draft, via ESPN's Rob Demovsky. "That's where my mind's at. I don't only love the player, but I love the person. I love working with him on a daily basis; I think we all do -- from the players in that locker room to the coaching staff. Again, I don't even want to let my mind go there."
According to Demovsky, LaFleur would not disclose details of any recent conversations with Rodgers.
"I'll always remain hopeful and optimistic, and certainly, we'll always welcome him back with open arms," LaFleur said. "He knows exactly how not only myself but our staff and our players feel about him. Like I said before, I just can't imagine him not being in a Green Bay Packer uniform."
Rodgers attended Saturday's Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs Racetrack with fianceé Shailene Woodley and friends. The Packers quarterback declined to speak to NBC on camera but expressed to announcer Mike Tirico his love for Green Bay.
"I can tell ya, I characterize Aaron as disappointed that news has come out of this rift with the Packers," Tirico said on NBC's coverage. "He expressed a couple of times how much he loves Green Bay, loves the fans, loves the franchise. There is a chasm between management and the reigning NFL MVP. We're just not sure how this is going to play out. Watch closely over the next couple of weeks to see what we hear from the Packers side and when Aaron does speak."
When Rodgers does decide to make a public comment, you can bet the entire NFL world will be listening.