One month after calling the Green Bay Packers' handling of the Aaron Rodgers situation "inexcusable," retired quarterback Alex Smith expanded on those comments.
"Clearly it's not an ideal situation," Smith told USA Today's Jori Epstein. "Here's a guy that's given 16 years to an organization. He's been through a lot of changes there as well. He's coming off maybe one of the greatest quarterback seasons ever and still playing at an incredibly high level. You rewind to a year ago and all the talk was, 'Is Aaron done? Is he on the decline?' He played right through that.
"They've been on the doorstep of the Super Bowl the last couple years, and so I think it's hard. From the outside, we don't know all the details of what went on. There's certainly been some changes in that front office. Aaron has been there for a long, long time. He's a Hall of Fame player. I think he's due a certain level of respect beyond the average player. I don't think that's asking a whole lot."
Rodgers has made it known that he doesn't want to return to Green Bay in 2021. A suspected major reason for that is because the Packers didn't communicate to Rodgers their plans to select Jordan Love, his potential replacement, in the 2020 draft.
Smith knows a bit about seeing his replacement drafted. While he was in San Francisco, the 49ers drafted Colin Kaepernick, which eventually led to Smith being traded to Kansas City. The Chiefs then did the same thing, trading up to select Patrick Mahomes 10th overall in 2017.
The Packers insist they won't trade Rodgers, but the disgruntled quarterback reportedly has no plans to return unless general manager Brian Gutekunst is fired.
With no end in sight to the Rodgers situation, Packers head coach Matt LaFleur told Love as he left for summer break to continue preparing to be the starter this season. LaFleur appears confident the young signal-caller will get the job done, but it's still not an ideal situation for Green Bay.