Packers' Aaron Rodgers on Mike McCarthy: 'We had amazing times and times we butt heads'

When Green Bay Packers players entered their building on Monday, things were a lot different than when they’d parted ways hours earlier, after their home loss to the Arizona Cardinals.

Longtime head coach Mike McCarthy had been fired, the first time in team history a coach was fired in-season, and offensive coordinator Joe Philbin had been named interim coach.

On Monday, quarterback Aaron Rodgers weighed in with his thoughts.

‘We accomplished a lot together’

Rodgers, whose suddenly rocky relationship with McCarthy was part of a Sports Illustrated story last week, said that the things that have come out about him and McCarthy have been frustrating.

“Like any relationship we’ve had amazing times and times when we butt heads,” Rodgers said at his locker. “We accomplished a lot together.”

Rodgers added that he hadn’t yet spoken to McCarthy, but intended to reach out once he was done with the day’s obligations.

“Like I said, it’s tough. You spend that much time together, so many years, and you have a close working relationship and a close friendship off the field,” Rodgers said. “It’s tough. I’m sure he’s going through the grieving process, as many of us have known him for a long time and worked with him are as well.”

Players caught off-guard

Rodgers and other Packers players said they got the news of McCarthy’s firing via social media and television and that McCarthy didn’t get a chance to address the team one last time.

“I think we were all surprised last night. There was a great deal of frustration about the performance [against Arizona], individually and collectively as a squad losing a game we should have won, and surprised about the timing,” Rodgers said. “But those are decisions [team president] Mark [Murphy] is making with [general manager] Brian [Gutekunst’s] help and we’re going to keep moving forward.”

See the pair through the years: 

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Aaron Rodgers and Mike McCarthy's relationship
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Aaron Rodgers and Mike McCarthy's relationship
Mike McCarthy, left, and Aaron Rodgers, right, during Green Bay Packers football training camp, Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2008, at Clarke Hinkle Field in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Matt Ludtke)
Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy, right, congratulates quarterback Aaron Rodgers after Rodgers completed a 30-yard touchdown pass during the first half of a preseason NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Lambeau Field on Monday, Aug. 11, 2008, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Mike Roemer)
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) talks with head coach Mike McCarthy in the second quarter against the San Francisco 49ers of their preseason football game, Saturday, Aug. 16, 2008 in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)
Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy talks with quarterback Aaron Rodgers during a timeout in the first half of a NFL football game Sunday, Oct. 12, 2008, in Seattle. Rodgers led the Packers to a 27-17 win over the Seattle Seahawks, breaking a three-game Green Bay losing streak. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy smiles with quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) during the second half of an NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday, Dec. 27, 2009, in Green Bay, Wis. The Packers won 48-10. (AP Photo/Jim Prisching)
Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy talks to quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) and cornerback Charles Woodson (21) during NFL football practice, Friday, Jan. 21, 2011, in Green Bay, Wis. The Packers face the Chicago Bears in the NFC Championship on Sunday in Chicago. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, right, and head coach Mike McCarthy celebrate after the NFC Championship NFL football game Sunday, Jan. 23, 2011, in Chicago. The Packers won 21-14. (AP Photo/David J. Philip)
Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy, right, talks with Aaron Rodgers, left, during practice, Thursday, Feb. 3, 2011, in Dallas. Green Bay will face the Pittsburgh Steelers in the NFL football Super Bowl XLV Sunday. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
Green Bay Packers' Aaron Rodgers (12) is congratulated by Packers head coach Mike McCarthy after Jordy Nelson scored a touchdown during the first half of NFL Super Bowl XLV football game Sunday, Feb. 6, 2011, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy, left, and quarterback Aaron Rodgers celebrate after beating the Pittsburgh Steelers 31-25 in the NFL Super Bowl XLV football game Sunday, Feb. 6, 2011, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy talks with quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) in the first half of an NFL preseason football game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Thursday, Aug. 23, 2012, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/John Grieshop)
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers leaps into the arms of coach Mike McCarthy after throwing a touchdown against the Arizona Cardinals during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 4, 2012, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Tom Lynn)
Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy talks with quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) before an NFC divisional playoff NFL football game against the San Francisco 49ers in San Francisco, Saturday, Jan. 12, 2013. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Green Bay Packers' Aaron Rodgers, left, talks to head coach Mike McCarthy during NFL football training camp Friday, July 26, 2013, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy talks to Aaron Rodgers during the first half of an NFL football game against the Philadelphia Eagles Sunday, Nov. 16, 2014, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Mike Roemer)
Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy talks to quarterback Aaron Rodgers during the first half of an NFL football game against the Detroit Lions Sunday, Nov. 15, 2015, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Mike Roemer)
FILE - In this Sunday, Oct. 4, 2015 file photo, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) and head coach Mike McCarthy celebrate after they scored a touchdown against the San Francisco 49ers during the second half of an NFL football game in Santa Clara, Calif. McCarthy said Monday, July 25, 2016, Rodgers is in great shape as the team starts training camp, and that it's the best shape that he's seen Rodgers in their time together. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)
FILE - In this Sept. 11, 2016, file photo, Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy and quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) chat on the sideline during the second half of an NFL football game against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Jacksonville, Fla. McCarthy is confident that Rodgers and Green Bay’s struggling offense will get better. Two games into the season, the results have been uncharacteristically ugly. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack, File)
Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy, left, talks with quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) before an NFL divisional playoff football game against the Dallas Cowboys Sunday, Jan. 15, 2017, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy and quarterback Aaron Rodgers smile during NFL football training camp Saturday, Aug 5, 2017, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Matt Ludtke)
FILE - In this Sept. 9, 2018, file photo, Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy looks at Aaron Rodgers as he walks off the field after injuring his leg during the first half of an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears, in Green Bay, Wis. For the Minnesota Vikings, it’s more about whether Aaron Rodgers will have his full bag of tricks while playing with a knee injury than if he’ll be playing at all. Because the Vikings are thoroughly convinced that the Green Bay Packers quarterback will be in uniform on Sunday when they visit Lambeau Field. (AP Photo/Mike Roemer, File)
Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy talks to Aaron Rodgers during the first half of an NFL football game against the Miami Dolphins Sunday, Nov. 11, 2018, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Mike Roemer)
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 28: Quarterback Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers talks with head coach Mike McCarthy during the game against the Los Angeles Rams at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on October 28, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
SEATTLE, WA - NOVEMBER 15: Aaron Rodgers #12 and head coach Mike McCarthy of the Green Bay Packers have a conversation in the first quarter against the Seattle Seahawks during their game at CenturyLink Field on November 15, 2018 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
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Rodgers won’t have a say in next coach

Murphy and Gutekunst also met with media and said Rodgers is free to offer his opinion, but won’t be part of the process of choosing the Packers’ next head coach.

Rodgers didn’t sound like he wants to be part of it.

“I’m obviously an older player in the league [he turned 35 on Sunday], I still have a number of years on my contract, would love to still play to 40, and I think there’s an interest on who the next guy will be,” he said. “But Mark and Brian and I have always had good lines of communication, their offices are always open, I’ve had conversations with them like I had with [former GM] Ted [Thompson] over the years, and I’m not needing to be involved in that process.”

Though he was in the same offensive system for well over a decade, Rodgers isn’t worried about having to learn a new playbook. “My football aptitude, I’m able to adjust as I need to.”

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