Aaron Rodgers slams report on Packers dysfunction: 'It is 100 percent patently false'

Last week’s blistering Bleacher Report story on the Green Bay Packers painted a picture of dysfunction over the course of years in the locker room centered around former head coach Mike McCarthy and quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

Rodgers ripped the report Monday in his first public response to the story, calling it a “smear attack” featuring “mostly irrelevant, bitter players” with agendas in an interview with ESPN Radio’s “Wilde and Tausch” hosted by former Packers tackle Mark Tauscher and radio personality Jason Wilde.

Report described disrespect, discord

Bleacher Report’s Tyler Dunne told a story of dissent between the two Packers power players that existed from day one of their relationship, with Rodgers holding angst toward his former head coach after McCarthy’s 49ers bypassed Rodgers for Alex Smith in the NFL draft when he was the offensive coordinator in San Francisco.

According to the report, Rodgers regularly undermined McCarthy on the field and didn’t respect his head coach whom he believed had a ‘low football IQ.’

McCarthy comes across as incompetent and aloof in Rodgers’ eyes while Rodgers is described as overbearing and a difficult teammate lacking leadership qualities in the locker room, with anonymous and named Packers sources criticizing the Green Bay quarterback.

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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 disputes account of conversation with Murphy

After firing McCarthy during the season, the Packers eventually hired former Tennessee Titans offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur as head coach, a decision that was made solely by team president Mark Murphy, according to the Bleacher Report exposé.

Murphy called Rodgers and told him about the hire made without consulting Rodgers, telling the quarterback “Don't be the problem,” according to the report.

Rodgers: ‘He made that crap up’

Rodgers slammed Dunne’s account of the conversation with Murphy in a snippet released by “Wilde and Tausch.”

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“It’s ridiculous,” Rodgers said. “It is 100 percent patently false. So it’s either he made that crap up, or what he would probably do as a writer is say this is my sources’ problem, they told me something.

“I talked to Mark last week. And I said, ‘Mark, did you tell somebody about the conversation?’ He goes, ‘That’s ridiculous.’ And I said, ‘Because that’s not what happened.’ ... We had a great conversation, like we always do. That’s just one point of that article amongst a number of highly questionable things. Not to mention unnamed sources. Put your name onto something.”

Rodgers describes good relationship with McCarthy

Rodgers also discounted the discord reported between himself and McCarthy, describing a relationship that had its issues but was overall a strong one.

"I love Mike McCarthy,” Rodgers said. “He's a great man. He's got a huge heart. He really cares about his players, and he showed that to us. ... As far as a player to a coach, it's just two Alpha males who are hyper-competitive and love winning and are both a little stubborn. But, again, we talked through so many different issues over the years, and that made us a lot stronger."

Rodgers’ account of Packers’ play-calling

He specifically addressed the part of the report that described Rodgers as undermining McCarthy’s play-calling.

"The beauty in our on-the-field relationship was that there was a ton of trust,” Rodgers said. “When I read stuff like, 'I'd disrespect him by changing all these plays,' I had a lot of latitude. He knew that and I knew that. I called the two-minute, I'd call stretches of no-huddle offense.

“A lot of times, he'd send two plays in. 'Hey, do you like this or that?' That's what it grew. The trust level was really high.”

Rodgers also expressed regret over publicly criticizing the Packers’ game plan in a win over the Buffalo Bills last season, saying “I wish I hadn't said anything after the Bills game last year.”

McCarthy ripped report last week

Rodgers isn’t the first person featured in the story to attack the reporting. One of the most talked-about aspects of the story is an account that McCarthy would skip offensive meetings during game weeks to get massages during a period where the head coach was “more and more checked out.

McCarthy challenged that account last week in an interview with NFL Network’s Tom Pellisero.

“I wouldn’t even know where to start and stop with the article,” McCarthy said. “But to say that I skipped a team meeting for a massage is utterly absurd.

“I have a massage scheduled tomorrow, and I can promise you I will not miss my primary responsibility of picking up my two kids from school.”

Reputations are at stake

Dunne’s account of what happened behind closed Packers doors and that of the players involved in the report are wildly differing, and legacies are at stake. As the story has put Rodgers and McCarthy’s relationship in a negative spotlight, Rodgers’ response is to discredit the report at its source.

“The thing is about the article, it's — it's not a mystery,” Rodgers said. “This was a smear attack by a writer looking to advance his career talking with mostly irrelevant, bitter players who all have an agenda whether they're advancing their own careers or just trying to stir old stuff up.”

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