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Aaron Rodgers talks offseason changes

Still "mutual interest" in getting contract extension done for Packers QB


GREEN BAY – Any personal disappointment Aaron Rodgers feels about losing his quarterback coach and favorite receiver is not affecting his desire to sign a contract extension with the Packers.

The two-time MVP didn't have any specific updates on contract talks as the Packers began offseason workouts on Tuesday, but he reiterated that he still plans to play into his 40s and would like to play his entire career in Green Bay.

"Obviously we'd like to lock something in at some point," Rodgers said. "The team has made that public knowledge, they'd love to do that. I've said many times I'd love to finish my career here. There's more than mutual interest on both sides."

The offseason has presented difficult moments, though, as Rodgers' QB coach, Alex Van Pelt, was not retained, and receiver Jordy Nelson was released.

Rodgers wasn't happy about either decision, but he did not come across Tuesday as disgruntled, instead referring multiple times to being "professional" about it all in preparation for a new season. As for being part of conversations about such moves, Rodgers said that's not a question for him.

"That's the toughest part about the whole thing, losing guys over the years, the Jordys, the James Jones, the A.J. Hawks, the John Kuhns, Julius Peppers, the guys you get close to," he said. "Again, those are team decisions.

"I know my role and that's to play quarterback the best that I can, and the team is going to try to put the right guys in place, the right coaches in place, the right players in place, and you just have to trust the process."

That process has involved the return of offensive coordinator Joe Philbin and the signing of free-agent tight end Jimmy Graham, with whom Rodgers became friends at the Pro Bowl several years ago, and the two have joked since about playing together someday.

Philbin was Green Bay's offensive coordinator for Rodgers' first four years as the starting QB (2008-11), culminating in a record-setting season and his first MVP award. Rodgers described Tuesday's first offensive meeting with Philbin like an exciting trip through a time warp.

"It's going to be a lot of fun having him back," Rodgers said. "I smiled walking down the steps into the meeting room this morning as I saw him in the front. Nothing's really changed. Joe is still Joe."

Meanwhile Graham could give Rodgers and the offense the big, downfield threat and matchup problem enjoyed previously with tight ends Jermichael Finley and Jared Cook, the type of element that didn't materialize a year ago as intended with Martellus Bennett.

Rodgers learned of the signing of Graham the same day Nelson was released, making the news "bittersweet," but he's excited to see what the veteran Graham brings to the field and the locker room.

"It's tough losing those guys, but that's the nature of the business," he said. "It's about change, and you have to remember this is a professional environment. It's going to happen.

"I want to play until I'm 40 and beyond. Many of the guys I'm playing with now will be moving on at that point, if I'm able to keep playing until then. It's about cultivating the relationships with the young guys, finding what that team chemistry looks like every year – because it changes – and looking forward to the season."

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