GREEN BAY – Aaron Rodgers decided he owed James Jones an apology, so that’s exactly what Jones received from the Green Bay Packers quarterback
Speaking on his weekly radio show on 540 ESPN and ESPNWisconsin.com on Wednesday, Rodgers said he apologized to Jones for yelling at him in the wake of his interception during the Packers’ 23-10 victory over the Chicago Bears last Thursday night. NFL Network cameras caught Rodgers’ animated angry reaction, and it has been a topic of discussion ever since, in part because Bears quarterback Jay Cutler had a run-in with his left tackle, J’Marcus Webb, earlier in the game.
Jones said in the locker room Tuesday that he deserved to be yelled at for running the wrong route and causing a fourth-quarter interception. He said no apology from Rodgers was necessary but that he appreciated it nonetheless.
“That was something I apologized for because I never want to show up a guy on the field like that. And I also had to thank James for the way that he addressed it as well. I always appreciate support from (my) guys,” Rodgers said Wednesday. “James has been a great receiver for us for a long time and we’ve played a number of years together, spent time throwing in the offseason, so I have a lot of faith and trust in him. He’s a guy who’s going to have to play a lot of snaps for us, and we’re counting on him and expecting him to make big plays for us. And, we just enjoy him attitude and energy in the locker room and that was something that, as usual, we handle behind closed doors, and after the incident, we’re ready to move on.”
Rodgers has spoken in the past about yelling at teammates immediately after plays, and while it’s something that he hasn’t done frequently, it has happened before.
“It’s the competitor coming out, which is not an excuse for it. When it’s on national TV like that – (I) know every game is in some market – but when you’re playing Thursday night … it’s not something I enjoy doing,” Rodgers said. “There are times where it definitely comes back the other way (from receivers to the quarterback), and you know how that feels and almost to a man, there’s always a moment of apology, and getting back on the same page, and realizing that as frustrating as a moment can be, the emotion shown is never really worth it.
“As usual, these are things we do a good job of handling in the locker room and we’re a close knit group, and not letting things like this become a distraction. And I think of what happened with Chicago (with Webb and Cutler), everything in that game got blown (out of proportion), all the emotion got blown up a little more than it usually would have. But it’s not something we’re going to spend any more time on.”
Rodgers, who has become friends with New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, said he and Brady have talked about this exact issue in the past.
“It happens. It happens. And being good friends with Tom Brady, I mean, Tom’s a fiery competitor who, just like myself, we love to play the game, and the emotion comes out at different times,” Rodgers said. “It’s part of the game. You never want to make someone look bad out there by showing them up too much.”
Last year, Rodgers acknowledged that he needed to do a better job of handling his emotions earlier in his career and said he’d worked on improving. On Wednesday, he credited former Packers offensive coordinator Joe Philbin for helping him in that area over the years.
“I think I have (gotten better), and I give credit to Joe Philbin for that,” Rodgers said of Philbin, now the head coach of the Miami Dolphins. “I always appreciated that about Joe. It was always more than just the game to him, it was how you conduct yourself. You saw a lot of that on Hard Knocks (on HBO). He cares as much about the kind of man that you are than the kind of teammate that you are, and I’ve always appreciated that about him and enjoyed our conversations together, and enjoyed getting the chance to talk about ways to be a better professional.”
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