The blockbuster trade that finally sent Aaron Rodgers from the Green Bay Packers to the New York Jets was made official on Wednesday — and Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst wished his former quarterback well.
“We are eternally grateful for all that Aaron gave the Packers the last 18 years,” said Gutekunst. “While he undoubtedly will be remembered as one of the best players in our franchise’s storied history for all his accomplishments on the field, it is his competitive greatness, leadership and toughness that make him such a special player and person.
The daily expectations he placed on himself and his teammates were instrumental in all that we accomplished during a special era of Packers football. We wish Aaron nothing but success and look forward to welcoming him back to Green Bay in the future and celebrating his induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.”
It’s a nice sendoff for the quarterback who led Green Bay for 18 seasons, but also interesting after it was made clear that Rodgers and Gutekunst hadn’t spoken since the end of the Packers’ season.
The team made the trade official in a release on Wednesday, stating that Rodgers had been traded to the Jets along with a first-round pick and a fifth-round choice in 2023, in exchange for a first-round first-round selection (No. 13), a second-round pick (No. 42) and a sixth-round selection (No. 207) in 2023 and a conditional second-round choice in 2024.
Packers president and CEO Mark Murphy and head coach Matt LaFleur made heartfelt statements along with Gutekunst, calling Rodgers “the leader of our team through his impact on the field, in the locker room and in the community,” and stating that “he will always be a great representative of what it means to be a Green Bay Packer.”
They also expressed the team’s desire to welcome him back to Green Bay to both retire his No. 12 and celebrate his induction into the Packers Hall of Fame.
Although the relationship between Aaron Rodgers and Brian Gutekunst clearly became rocky towards the end, it’s nice to see the gesture of respect shown from the general manager to the leader of the team for nearly two decades.