NFL Notes: Aaron Rodgers, Justin Fields, London

     

Aaron Rodgers

Packers QB Aaron Rodgers joined The Pat McAfee show on Monday and reiterated that nothing has really changed with his status in Green Bay since last year. 

We’re exactly where we were last year when I made comments after the draft and during the season; nothing’s really changed. … All I can do is play my best, and I thought I did last year. (That) may have thrown a wrench into some timelines,” Rodgers said, per Rob Demovsky

Justin Fields

A feature of draft season is the anonymous quotes from teams that come out about certain players supposedly revealing how teams really feel about them behind the scenes. Sometimes these quotes take on a life of their own and that happened with Ohio State QB Justin Fields and ESPN analyst Dan Orlovsky repeating questions he’d heard about Fields’ work ethic. Not only did Orlovksy’s comments trip over an ugly history with how the NFL has treated Black quarterbacks in the past, but many people close to Fields have also vigorously defended him from what they see as lies. 

“The whole idea that he doesn’t have a very good work ethic?” Ohio State HC Ryan Day said via NBC Sports’ Peter King. “I mean, to me, that’s crazy. He got done with the Clemson game [the loss in the college football playoffs in the 2019 season] and he came back and all he did was work to get back to that game. And when those other guys are opting out, what’s he do? He petitions to have a season. He put together this petition that the Big Ten athletes all signed saying that they want to play, but they want to play safely and that they don’t accept canceling the season. It was all led by Justin Fields. Where was everybody else? Where were the guys who were opting out then? You know, you don’t love the game if you’re doing something like that. This kid loves the game.

“I heard something about the last one to come in, first one to leave. First off, the scouts weren’t in our building all year. Last one in? Every morning, at least every morning we could be in the building, early, he’s in with [football sports performance czar] Mickey Marotti. The guys who were self-motivated and could do things on their own, those were the ones who made it. He was unbelievable. He changed his diet, he got stronger. He did better than most.”

  • King said his sources on two teams he talked to who could be interested in drafting a quarterback didn’t have any questions about Fields’ work ethic. 

London

Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer writes that while the NFL is expected to return to playing international games in London, the league has backed off a little on its push for a full-time team in the city. The league’s chief strategy and growth officer, Chris Halpin, tells Breer there are five boxes that need to be checked to move a team to London — a viable local fan base, a stadium, support from local government, football logistics regarding travel and schedule for half of its games or more that would be intercontinental and an owner that wants to move a team there.

“The big issue is the football logistics and there’s been extensive work done on it,” Halpin said. “That’s where we work with the competition committee. We’re going to continue to evolve that. That’s going to keep working forward. … London checks the boxes in pretty much all the areas. But the football logistics are the biggest one.”

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