NFL: Rogers is Pack leader — again
GREEN BAY, Wis. ó Aaron Rodgers needed an extra squirt of antiseptic spray for his sore throat before speaking, but the lump from having to compete for his job is gone, jettisoned with Brett Favre to New York.
Rodgers is right back where he began in March. He’s the starting quarterback of the Green Bay Packers. That doesn’t mean the pressure has diminished ó well, maybe a little.
“My job is going to be difficult either way. There’s a lot of pressure to just be a starting quarterback in this league,” Rodgers said Friday. “I’m still following Brett’s legacy, regardless of the fact if he’s here, retired or like he is in New York now.
“There’s high expectations on myself, on our team and I think it’s still going to be a difficult situation as far as the pressure outside this locker room that’s put on me.”
For the first time, though, the fans that showed up to watch training camp practice at the NFL’s smallest outpost gave him a break, besides a lone heckler who kept riding the organization’s “mistake.” There were no “Save Brett” signs and the number of No. 4 jerseys were about even with Rodgers’ No. 12.
Rodgers and the rest of the offense looked crisp, too. Wide receiver Greg Jennings, who had emerged last season as one of Favre’s favorite targets, made a nifty one-handed grab for a touchdown for his new QB during a no-huddle drill.
Rodgers argued that the trade had nothing to do with the offense’s sudden improvement in practice, but the grin gave him away despite his efforts to deny it.
“It was good to get a resolution to the whole thing. It’s been definitely on all of our minds. We’ve had to talk about it a lot, throughout the training camp,” Rodgers said. “Everybody in the locker room. We’re happy for Brett that he gets to still play and we’re going to move forward together as a team.”
Packers coach Mike McCarthy didn’t answer his first Favre-related question for several minutes. He had no comment about Favre in a Jets jersey, but was relieved to get past explaining why the organization traded the face of the franchise for a conditional draft pick late Wednesday night.
“A sense of relief? You could say (it) in a lot of ways. I’m about press conferenced out, number one. That’s something, it’s a responsibility, I understand, but it was something that the situation needed to be resolved and it was nice to get to a finality of that,” McCarthy said. “I’m relieved that we’re talking about football, our football team, and that’s what the focus needs to be on.”
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