GREEN BAY – Two of Aaron Rodgers' best friends on the Packers both expressed Tuesday how they personally have his back during his conflict with the organization, and at the same time how badly they want him to remain their quarterback.
All-Pros David Bakhtiari and Davante Adams both spoke with the media after the first practice of minicamp, the only mandatory portion of the offseason, which Rodgers still skipped as expected. The pair of close, longtime teammates made several things clear.
They're going to support their friend, they're not going to get in the middle of it, they don't know anything more than anybody else about the situation, and they hope he returns to the team at some point.
"I care about Aaron Rodgers from a friend perspective," said Bakhtiari, who continued his ACL rehab off to the side during practice. "I will never hold any grudge against him. That is someone that I have appreciated, and he has done a lot for this organization and a lot for me as an individual.
"Now, as a teammate, I would be idiotic to say that I don't want the MVP back. He's the MVP of the league last year. He's done amazing things."
Both players were rather candid, without sharing specifics or any details of conversations, in their comments about the conflict, which has seen Rodgers skip the entirety of the offseason program for the first time in his career.
That candidness included admissions they really don't know how this is going to end, and they weren't going to make any predictions. From their perspective, there also will be no hard feelings however this gets resolved.
"Honestly, I've got no expectations, man," Adams said. "I'm just being supportive of my guy and let it all unfold how it does. Obviously, I'm praying that he comes back. We all want him back. I think everybody in this building has that same mindset.
"When and if he's back, obviously we'll welcome him with open arms."
Adams' arrival at minicamp coincided with that of the next four receivers on the team's depth chart as well – Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Allen Lazard, Equanimeous St. Brown and newcomer Devin Funchess.
All five had skipped the first two weeks of voluntary OTAs after participating in the virtual meetings earlier in the offseason program, according to receivers coach Jason Vrable.
Adams insisted it was not a coordinated effort to not return to Green Bay late last month, and that every player made personal decisions. For his part, he explained his own absence was not, as many assumed, an intentional show of solidarity with his longtime quarterback.
Rather, it reflected his desire to continue working out on his own back home in California, which he did last spring during the pandemic, and he liked how he felt coming into training camp. He also wanted to spend more time with his baby daughter.
As for his workout regimen, Adams is taking no risks, sitting out the 11-on-11 snaps during Tuesday's practice. The other receivers who had been absent from OTAs did participate, including Funchess during his first official practice in a Packers uniform.
Coming off a monster season, Adams is entering a contract year and is in line for a major extension, but he declared he would report for training camp even without a new deal in place.
He certainly wants his quarterback to report, too, and just hopes it's all going to work out eventually. If it does, he sees no reason things would be any different between them, on or off the field.
"The moment he gets back – which I'm praying for, and I think we all are," Adams said, "we'll get right back to it like we were before."
Take a look at the Packers' first practice of minicamp at Clarke Hinkle Field on Tuesday, June 8, 2021.