“He’s here,” Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst said Wednesday, shortly before the team’s first practice of training camp. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen him be here and go out there on that field and not be in all-in. I’ve always been confident of that. He is a true competitor, he’s a true professional. When he steps between those white lines, I’ve really never seen anything other than that.”
Rodgers showed up at Lambeau Field on Tuesday in time for the veteran players’ reporting deadline and was expected to take part in the opening practice. He skipped the entire offseason program — something he’s never done before, and gave up a $500,000 workout bonus in the process — and also missed the mandatory minicamp in June.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Monday the concessions the Packers made to Rodgers, which ultimately lured him back for a 17th season. Among them were a void of the final year (2023) of his deal and an agreement to review Rodgers’ situation at the end of the 2021 season.
While Gutekunst said no alterations have been made to Rodgers’ contract — at least not yet — he said Wednesday they were still “working through some of those things.”
Packers coach Matt LaFleur said the Packers were “quite frankly very unsure” whether Rodgers would be back this season, but said communication progressed “and we got to a good spot.”
Gutekunst wouldn’t go so far as to say this could be Rodgers’ last go-round with the Packers or whether he would trade the reigning league MVP after the season — if that’s what the quarterback wants.
“What I will say is that I think Aaron, with what he’s done for this organization, I think he deserves at least the conversation every year about where we’re headed, where he’s headed and to get together, and we’ll make decisions,” Gutekunst said. “The club will always determine what’s best for the Green Bay Packers, but I think he’s earned the right to have those discussions.”
As Gutekunst was taking questions in the Lambeau Field media auditorium, veteran receiver Randall Cobb — a longtime favorite of Rodgers — tweeted that he’s “coming home.” A source told ESPN on Tuesday that Cobb expected to be traded back to the Packers from the Houston Texans.
I’M COMING HOME! 💚💛 pic.twitter.com/qxSwkQo89f
— Randall Cobb (@rcobb18) July 28, 2021
Rodgers reportedly wanted Cobb back in Green Bay; Gutekunst claimed Rodgers always had input in personnel decisions despite suggestions otherwise but said it wasn’t always handled the way it should have been.
“Aaron’s had kind of the same input he’s always had, which has been a lot,” Gutekunst said. “He’s earned a place at the table. I think he always has. I think one of the things to this offseason I think is learning how to incorporate that.”
With Rodgers back in the building, LaFleur’s sense of humor evidently returned as well.
When asked about the stress of the offseason, LaFleur joked there “was no stress.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he said, with his tongue firmly planted in his cheek. “No listen, it’s part of the business. … I just drank a lot of wine at night. That put me to sleep.”
D’Andre Swift won’t be limited in Detroit Lions’ season opener vs. San Francisco 49ers
ALLEN PARK, Mich. — Detroit Lions running back D’Andre Swift, who had been slowed by a groin injury throughout the preseason, is expected to be ready to go with no limitations in Sunday’s season opener against the San Francisco 49ers.
Lions coaches had expressed concerns during training camp Swift’s status, as the groin injury limited his participation in practice and preseason games. But the second-year running back was a full participant in practice on Wednesday and Thursday.
“I’m very bad at counting reps,” Lions running backs coach Duce Staley said. “If he’s out there being productive … I don’t know how to take him off.
“I get caught up in the game, he’s gonna get caught up in the game and every good player — every good running back that I know anyway — once he starts feeling it, you don’t want to pull him off. We can count the reps Monday.”
Swift is expected to be the lead back for Detroit this season, with Jamaal Williams set to thrive in a strong complementary role. As a rookie, Swift had 114 carries for 521 rushing yards and eight touchdowns, joining former Lions star Billy Sims (1980) as the only rookies in franchise history to score eight rushing touchdowns and two receiving touchdowns.
Swift also had 46 catches for 357 receiving yards last season.
“When he is available, he’s a weapon,” Lions offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn said. “You can do a lot of things with that young man. So I’m looking forward to seeing him go Sunday.”
Baltimore Ravens fear RB Gus Edwards, CB Marcus Peters have torn ACLs, sources say
The Ravens believe Edwards and Peters tore their ACLs during Thursday’s practice, sources tell Schefter. Both players are undergoing testing to confirm the initial diagnosis.
This continues a horrid run of injuries for Baltimore and delivers a major blow to the Ravens’ Super Bowl aspirations.
Edwards becomes the third running back to suffer a season-ending injury in a span of 12 days. J.K. Dobbins tore his ACL in the preseason finale on Aug. 28, and Justice Hill hurt his Achilles on Sept. 9.
Ty’Son Williams, a practice player from a year ago who doesn’t have an NFL carry, becomes the Ravens’ lead back. The other two running backs on the roster — Trenton Cannon and Le’Veon Bell (practice squad) — only started practicing with the Ravens on Wednesday.
The loss of Peters would represent the most significant injury to the defense this year. The Ravens have depth at cornerback, but it will be difficult to replace Peters’ playmaking ability. His 31 interceptions lead the NFL since he entered the league in 2015.
The Ravens open the season at the Las Vegas Raiders on Monday Night Football.
New Orleans Saints complete trade with Houston Texans for CB Bradley Roby, sources say
The New Orleans Saints have finalized their trade for cornerback Bradley Roby, sending a 2022 third-round draft pick and a 2023 conditional pick to the Houston Texans, sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
In order to facilitate a trade to the Saints, the Texans converted $7.6 million of Roby’s base salary into a signing bonus, a source told ESPN’s Field Yates. When Roby officially gets traded to New Orleans, his base salary for 2021 is now $1,862,645, which fits into the Saints’ salary-cap space.
Roby was a first-round draft pick of the Denver Broncos in 2014. He spent the past two years in Houston and has started 49 career games with 10 interceptions.
The 29-year-old Roby is entering the second year of a three-year, $31.5 million extension that he signed with the Texans last year. He will miss the first game of the season, however, as part of a six-game suspension that began in 2020 for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing substances.
The Saints have identified cornerback as a “must-fill” position ever since they released former starter Janoris Jenkins in March as part of a massive salary-cap purge and then lost one potential starting contender, Patrick Robinson, to a surprise retirement early in training camp. They even attempted to trade up nearly 20 spots in the NFL draft to land top prospects Jaycee Horn or Pat Surtain II.
New Orleans signed veteran Desmond Trufant on Monday to compete with Ken Crawley and rookie Paulson Adebo for the No. 2 starting cornerback job across from Pro Bowler Marshon Lattimore. However, Roby now becomes the front-runner to lock down that job following his suspension.
ESPN’s Mike Triplett contributed to this report.