Earlier today on 103.3 ESPN Radio in Dallas, Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers was a guest on the Michael Irvin show. Naturally, Irvin and his sycophant co-host Kevin Kiley talked about Brett Favre while introducing Aaron Rodgers, and then peppered him with questions about Brett Favre throughout the interview.
It was actually relatively interesting though, considering the candor with which Rodgers answered their questions, and his palpable reluctance to broach the subject. The nearly-complete transcript of the interview is below. (Note: I left out some of the stuff towards the end, and I guess I shouldn’t make fun of Irvin and Kiley for getting hung up on the Favre angle, because it’s the non-Favre stuff I left out).
The highlights are Aaron Rodgers saying that Brett Favre’s will-I-won’t-I saga last offseason definitely affected the team, and that he has not spoken to Favre since they left Lambeau Field after their disappointing NFC Championship Game loss to the Giants last year. Of course Favre’s offseason primmadonna show affected the team, but it is somewhat unexpected for Rodgers to be so blunt in saying so on a semi-national stage.
The other highlight, for me anyway, is Kevin Kiley saying “I donâ€™t want this to be about me, I want this to be about you,” and then Rodgers saying, “Well you’re the one talking.” For anyone who lives in Dallas and listens to the Michael Irvin show, you know that while they are able to get athletes to open up and be relatively candid, they barely give their guests a chance to speak in between in their rambling questions/comments/mumbles. As you will see from the transcript, Kiley and Irvin do most of the talking, but Rodgers does make an impact with the few words he gets in edgewise.
Onto the transcript:
(FYI…you can listen to the podcast at the ESPNRadio.com.)
Kevin Kiley (KK): My position on the GB Packers were, was, is â€“ Aaron Rodgers coulda waited, they shoulda kept Brett Favre, he took â€˜em to the NFL title game last year, it was DUMB to let him get away, and that Aaron Rodgers was put in a position unlike any other quarterback that has ever played the game.
Michael Irvin (MI): And I was the first to say after watching Aaron Rodgers step on that field in Dallas TWO years ago â€“ I came in the next day and said â€œOoh, oh my God, do you see what GB has.â€ And everybody thought I was crazy then, â€˜cuz when you stepped on the field Aaron, and you started bringing the Packers back against the Cowboys I said Oh get him off the field and bring Brett back in so we could win this game. And from that day on I thought they shoulda made the move THEN to Aaron Rodgers.
KK: Yeah, and thatâ€™s exactly right. He did say that.
MI: And let this team grow as a young team together with a nucleus and move forward and do great things herein. Aaron Rodgers itâ€™s a pleasure to have you on the Michael Irvin show man.
Aaaron Rodgers (AR): Iâ€™m glad one of you guys actually likes me.
KK: Now donâ€™t go there. Itâ€™s not like or dislike. I thought youâ€™re a terrific quarterback. I just thought they shoulda kept Brett another year because â€“
MI: Aww, stop it, stop it.
AR: Where were you between likeâ€¦March, and June?
KK: How do you mean? What, when he was retiring?
MI: When he was retired, came back, retired, came back, retired.
KK: I was feeling that Brett Favre, and I donâ€™t want this to be about me, I want this to be about you–
AR: Well youâ€™re the one talking.
KK: — but I thought that Brett Favre had the right –
MI: The right!?
KK: — to do whatever he wanted to do.
MI: The right?
KK: That was my feeling. What was your feeling on that Aaron?
MI: It amazes me â€“ the right!? â€“ isnâ€™t, what, arenâ€™t weâ€™re talking about football teams?
KK: He earned the right to do in Green Bay anything he wanted to do â€“ he wanted to retire, unretired, yes, no, yeh eh, when itâ€™s time to play ball, if he wanted to come back and play ball, he should have been allowed to play ball.
MI: How can that not affect your football team? How can you say â€“ and Iâ€™m asking you this Aaron â€“ to find out; heâ€™s in, heâ€™s out, heâ€™s in, heâ€™s out, heâ€™s in, heâ€™s out, heâ€™s in, heâ€™s out, how can â€“ how can that not â€“ how does that affect your football team?
AR: It does. How can it not affect it? I mean, when he flew into Green Bay the day afterâ€”or the day of the Family Night scrimmage, I mean that wasâ€¦talk about an awkward locker room. I mean, Iâ€™ve been the guy since March, you know? And then everybodyâ€™s like well okay, whatâ€™s gonna happen? Brettâ€™s gonna come back, heâ€™s gonna be the guy? Or Aaronâ€™s gonna be the guy? Or theyâ€™ll compete for the job? Nobody knowing whatâ€™s going on, of course thatâ€™s going to affect your football team.
MI: What was the relationship like with you, uh, and Brett?
AR: I was under the impressionâ€¦that it was good.
MI: Why would you say that you were under the impression?
3 second pause…
AR: You know what — We got along very well, especially the third year. Ummâ€¦butâ€¦I just wishâ€¦at some point heâ€™d reach out to me. Honestly.
KK: In what way? In what way do you mean reach out to you?
AR: Talk to me?
KK: He never talked to you?
MI: Wait, wai, wai, wait. When you were playing together, how much speaking did he do with you.
AR: I mean, it was me and him. The last year, â€™07, we had no other quarterback on the roster, it was me and him, you know, weâ€™d see each other every day, jog around with eachother every day, you know he knew how I felt about him, that I had the utmost amount of respect for him, you knowâ€¦and to not have talked to him in over a year? Thatâ€™s disappointing.
MI: Through all of this, going back and forth, putting you in the position that you were in â€“ and it was a tough position â€“ it was a tough position because now youâ€™re sitting having to respect him for what he has done, dealing with it, and letâ€™s just get real here that the pain of him not calling, or talking, or saying â€˜this is whatâ€™s happening, this is whatâ€™s going onâ€™â€¦after all of that, he still hasnâ€™t talked to you?
KK: Why do you think that is?
AR: Iâ€™m not gonna speak for him, so I donâ€™t — Iâ€™m not sure.
KK: But I mean you must say to yourself, why doesnâ€™t Brett speak to me? What could it possibly be? I can see by the look on your face that clearly you donâ€™t think you did anything to be put in that position. So why do you think â€“ did you becomeâ€¦an automaticâ€¦I donâ€™t even want to use the enemy, but, but, you were on the other side because you had that job? But do you think that thatâ€™s the way he looked at it? And that you just, justâ€¦not speak to you? That seems odd.
AR: I donâ€™t know. Thatâ€™s a question for him. Iâ€™m not gonna put words in his mouth. But Iâ€™m â€“ like I said, when we lost to the Giants, I mean, we left as friends, and, and, I havenâ€™t talked to him in year so thatâ€™s kinda where weâ€™re at.
MI: Why will you not reach out to him?
AR: Oh, I did. I did.
MI: You called him and he didnâ€™t call you back?
MI: Iâ€™m recoiling. I gotta come up with a question. You ask him a question.
KK: Yeah, well this is difficult because I donâ€™t wanna put Aaron in a â€“ I can see Aaron struggling with this. If this was television, you could see heâ€™s uncomfortable with these questions. I donâ€™t blame him because Brett Favre is Brett Favre and Aaron was â€“ was he a popular, was he popular on the team? There were reports that he was a little bit separate from the team and all that. Did you feel that when you guys were making that run for the NFC title? That he was separate from the other players?
AR: Iâ€™ll be honest with you, I really donâ€™t want to go into that at all.
KK: Okay. Well letâ€™s talk about Aaron.
MI: Letâ€™s talk about Aaron. We appreciate your honesty there man, I appreciate â€“
AR: No problem.
MI: –your honesty, and I could see how difficult that must be for you because I know you admired him, I admired him, we all admired him. Soâ€¦and, but you had the opportunity to work so closely with himâ€¦and grab the crumbs of the knowledge that falls off his table. So, you know, naturally thereâ€™s a closeness there so we appreciate your honesty with that man, but letâ€™s talk about this football seasonâ€¦
Less than thirty seconds later, Irvin asks if Rodgers felt that, after losses, there were people wondering how things would be different if Brett Favre were still the quarterback. Rodgers responds that he’s sure there were outside of the locker room, but not inside. Kevin Kiley then asks him if there was anything else in his life that could have prepared him for what he would face taking over for Favre. Rodgers responds emphatically.
KK: How did you piece it together, just day by day?
AR: You know what? I just tried to realize that every time I got in front of the camera was an opportunity to get my message out, and to be myself, and to be real, and genuine, and try to handle it with as much grace and class as I could. I had a great support group. My other brothers, my best friend, I just stayed tight with my family, my guys on the team, and my, and my close friends back home.
MI: And you handled it just that way man, with grace and with class man. I canâ€™t tell ya â€“ I was a huge fan before you got here man, but you just grew with me, in a big way man. I appreciate you stopping by, I know everybodyâ€™s grabbing on you man
AR: No problem, thank you.
Then there was about 30 more seconds of Irvin and Kiley hanging off of Rodgers’ balls, basically telling Rodgers to clear out a space in Canton for himself. Seriously, you would think that Rodgers was some cross between John Elway and a single father who had just lost his job and was raising ten kids as much as they talked about “what a difficult situation” he was put in. Hmm…let’s see…he is one of 32 starting quarterbacks in the NFL, making tons of money, and had the full support of his coaches and teammates. Oh the tragedy! Please.
I realize that I will probably get flamed by somebody for making a mountain out of a molehill — that this interview wasn’t really a big deal; and you know what? You’re probably right. But I was bored and thought it would be fun to transcribe — and some of Rodgers’ comments were relatively interesting.
At the end of the day, Rodgers and Favre haven’t spoken and the legacy of Brett Favre continues to take hits and more and more stories like these get out. He should probably just retire before he can tear down any more of what it took him so long to build up.