NFL

Rodgers' offseason focus on mental health amid doubts over Packers future

By Sports Desk July 05, 2021

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers said he has taken time to work on his mental health amid questions about his long-term future with the NFL franchise.

Rodgers – who skipped Green Bay's organised team activities (OTA) – is officially a holdout following his absence as the Packers reported for their mandatory minicamp last week.

The three-time MVP and 37-year-old is pushing to leave the Packers – a team he has represented since 2005, winning a Super Bowl.

Reports of Rodgers' unhappiness first emerged on draft day this year, though Green Bay are unwilling to trade the veteran.

Speaking to the media on Monday, Rodgers told reporters: "I'm very thankful for the opportunity to work on my mental health.

"I haven't dealt with bouts of depression or anything, that I think for whatever reason, are OK to talk about if you're talking about mental health.

"I've just really been trying to think about what puts me in the best frame of mind. What habits can I form that allow me to feel most in my body, most present, happiest? And that's what I've been doing."

Rodgers amassed 48 touchdowns, five interceptions and a completion rate of 70.7 per cent for the Packers – who lost to eventual Super Bowl champions the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Rodgers' quarterback rating of 121.5 puts him second on the all-time list among qualifiers, behind only his 2011 campaign (122.5).

In total, Rodgers completed 372 of 526 attempts for 4,299 yards as the Packers topped the NFC North with a 13-3 record to clinch home-field advantage and the top seed in the NFC playoffs for the first time since 2011.

Rodgers is level with Tom Brady, Brett Favre, Johnny Unitas and Jim Brown with three MVP honours – only Peyton Manning (five) has more in NFL history.

Rodgers added: "Sometimes the loudest person in the room is not the smartest person. Sometimes the loudest person in the room is not the person who has all the facts on their side or the truth on their side.

"Sometimes there's a lot of wisdom in silence. Sometimes there's a lot of wisdom in being selective on what you say."

The Packers will open their 2021 season against the New Orleans Saints on September 12.

Related items

  • Murray's magic lifts Cardinals as Vikings suffer late heartbreak, Cowboys edge Chargers Murray's magic lifts Cardinals as Vikings suffer late heartbreak, Cowboys edge Chargers

    Kyler Murray's magic touch and a stunning field goal miss at the death gave the Arizona Cardinals a 34-33 victory over the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday.

    While Murray's latest series of highlight-reel plays were the talk of the game, the Vikings had a chance to win it on the final play as Greg Joseph set up for a 37-yard field goal. 

    But Joseph, who had hit twice from 52 yards earlier in the game, sent his kick wide right to set off a wild celebration in Arizona as the Cardinals remained unbeaten. 

    Arizona had trailed 20-7 midway through the second quarter after three Kirk Cousins touchdown passes, but Murray took control of the game with his legs and his arm. 

    The quarterback started the rally with a 12-yard touchdown run, then delivered a scrambling, 77-yard bomb to a wide-open Rondale Moore less than two minutes later to give the Cardinals the lead. 

    Nick Vigil picked off Murray on the second play of the second half and returned it 38 yards for a touchdown, but the Cardinals star marched his team right back down the field and hit A.J. Green as Arizona went back on top. 

    After the teams traded field goals in the fourth quarter, the Vikings had a chance to win it on Joseph's leg, but it was not to be.

    Murray completed 29 of 36 passes for 400 yards and three touchdowns as he got the better of Kirk Cousins, who was 22 of 32 for 244 yards and three TDs. Minnesota's Dalvin Cook had 22 carries for 131 yards. 

     

    Cowboys edge Chargers on last-second field goal

    Greg Zuerlein's 56-yard field goal as time expired gave the Dallas Cowboys a 20-17 victory at the Los Angeles Chargers. 

    It was a welcome bounceback for the Cowboys after their season-opening defeat at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and it came with a starring role for a surprising player. 

    Tony Pollard carried just three times for 14 yards in the opener but exploded for 109 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries against the Chargers. 

    Ezekiel Elliott added 71 yards and a score on the ground while Dak Prescott completed 23 of 27 passes for 237 yards. 

  • Juventus draw shows how far Milan have come, says Pioli Juventus draw shows how far Milan have come, says Pioli

    Stefano Pioli believes Milan's 1-1 draw with Juventus shows how far his side have come as they no longer require a "miracle" to win a game they are second best in.

    Milan battled back to claim a point in Sunday's Serie A clash at Allianz Stadium after Ante Rebic headed in 14 minutes from time to cancel out Alvaro Morata's early opener.

    Without a number of key players through injury, including strikers Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Olivier Giroud, the Rossoneri struggled in the first half and could have been further behind.

    But they took more control of the game in the second half, when seeing 62.7 per cent of the ball, and almost snatched the win late on through a well-saved Pierre Kalulu strike.

    The draw ended Milan's perfect start to the league season, but they are level on points with champions and early pacesetters Inter after four matches.

    Pioli, who guided the Rossoneri to second place last season – their best finish in nine years – is pleased with the way his side recovered to avoid defeat in Turin.

    "We came here to win the game," he told DAZN. "We found a better opponent than us in the first 20 minutes especially, but we did much better in the second half.

    "It was definitely a positive performance from us on the whole. Maybe last year to win these games we had to hope for a miracle; now we are aware that we can win these games.

    "We tried until the end to claim the victory."

     

    Rebic led the line in the absence of Giroud and Ibrahimovic and responded with his second goal in as many games, having also netted in the 3-2 Champions League loss to Liverpool in midweek.

    The Croatian forward is the first Milan player to score against Juve in three successive Serie A games in the three-points-per-win era (since 1994-95) and Pioli heaped praise on Rebic.

    "Ante has immense intensity and quality to his game," Pioli said. "He can play in more or less any role and he helped us today. He is a very important player to break games open.

    "I've always seen my players ready to overcome any limitations. They have quality and work throughout the week with a sense of belonging. 

    "The opposition might be better on the day, but we will always give it our best shot going for the victory."

    Rebic's header from a Sandro Tonali corner ensured Milan avoided defeat at Juventus in a match they trailed for the first time since February 1996.

    While Milan are well positioned at the top end of the table, opponents Juventus are winless after their first four games for just the fourth time in their history.

    Despite boasting an eight-point gap on Massimiliano Allegri's men, who are inside the relegation zone, Pioli insisted it is too soon to look at the league standings.

    "We are only four games in," he said at his post-match news conference. "There is time for every team to improve their position. But of course were are satisfied with what we've done."

  • Benzema and Vinicius celebrate as 'indomitable' Real Madrid go top Benzema and Vinicius celebrate as 'indomitable' Real Madrid go top

    Karim Benzema bailed out Real Madrid once again, but the French striker insisted the 2-1 win at Valencia was richly deserved, as their unbeaten LaLiga run stretched to 23 games. 

    The capital giants had trailed to a fine 66th-minute strike from Hugo Duro that looked set to take Valencia to the top of the table, but instead it is Madrid who sit on that perch with 13 points from five games. 

    Captain Benzema teed up Vinicius Junior to slot in an 86th-minute leveller, with the help of a deflection, before roles were reversed for the winner two minutes later. 

    A teasing cross from Vinicius was perfect for Benzema to attack, and although the ball went in off his shoulder rather than his forehead, as was the intention, they all count. 

    Benzema has now scored in his last six games against Valencia, and Sunday's late show was sweet revenge for the 4-1 thumping that Madrid took at Mestalla last November. 

    Coach Carlo Ancelotti described his team's spirit as "indomitable" and Benzema saw it similarly. 

    The 33-year-old said: "I think it was a difficult game for us against a great team who are always difficult to beat here. 

    "I think we deserved the three points that are important to us. Each game is a final, today was another final and we won. 

    "All the players on the pitch and the people who came on at the end of the game to help us, it is a victory for the squad. If I can continue like this, scoring, the most important thing is that they are important for the club." 

    Madrid are unbeaten in their last 18 away trips (W12 D6) in LaLiga, which equals their best such run in the competition's history, having previously reached 18 games unbeaten in 1997 (W11 D7) and 2016 (W13 D5). 

    Benzema has six goals already this season in LaLiga from an expected goals (xG) total of 2.61, indicating he is having an outstanding run in front of goal. 

    He has become the first player since Lionel Messi in 2011-12 to be directly involved in 11 or more goals in the first five games of a LaLiga campaign (six goals, five assists). 

    This season has seen Vinicius very much come to the party too, bagging five goals from an xG of 2.3, also outperforming expectations substantially, and now adding a first assist. 

    Quoted by AS, Vinicius said the win at Valencia was credit to Madrid's refusal to accept they are ever beaten.

    "It is always difficult to play here, but we continue to believe and Madrid never give up," said the 21-year-old Brazilian.

    "The main virtue is patience. It was the job of the coach and the whole team. We are doing things like never before. We played well, but things didn't work out and in the end we got the comeback. I am happy with the victory "

    It was a victory that delighted Ancelotti, who has yet to lose a competitive game since returning to the club in the close season.

    "We have not won because of quality, but because of the indomitable spirit of the team," said Ancelotti. "We continued to the end."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.