Did Releasing Little-Known Receiver Doom Aaron Rodgers-Packers Relationship?

"It's described as a little bit of a death knell in the relationship"

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Wisconsin native Jake Kumerow was a cult hero in his time with the Packers, but the seldom-used receiver could also be the key to Aaron Rodgers’ issues in Green Bay.

Rodgers reportedly has had enough of the Packers, and his discontent with the orgnaization was one of the biggest storylines of the NFL draft weekend. His future with the organization is very much up in the air. According to multiple people, the little-known Kumerow represents one of the biggest issues Rodgers has with the Packers.

NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport on Monday recapped Rodgers’ reported list of grievances with the only NFL team for which he has played. The contract is obviously a problem, as has been detailed in a few reports. Green Bay’s decision to draft quarterback Jordan Love last year didn’t help, either. But according to Rapoport, the Packers’ decision to release Kumerow right before the 2020 season began was something of a “death knell” to the relationship.

According to Rapoport, it was indicative of Rodgers’ desire to be more involved with roster building.

“Rodgers, I’m told, wanted to be more involved with some of the personnel decisions,” Rapoport said Monday afternoon. “This is crazy, but it does seem like the one thing that drove Rodgers nuts, is when the organization released Jake Kumerow, just a day after he praised him publicly. It’s described as a little bit of a death knell in the relationship. So much here to fix, and I know the Packers are now trying to fix it.”

Here’s his full report:

Believe it or not, Rapoport wasn’t the only tapped-in football person talking about the Kumerow decision Monday. Rodgers’ former Packers teammate, A.J. Hawk, just happened to mention it, too, during an appearance on “The Pat McAfee Show.” Hawk, it’s worth mentioning, was with Rodgers at the Kentucky Derby over the weekend.

“There are public things, things he said publicly that if people would have looked,” Hawk said. “I think he talked about the receiver Jake Kumerow. I actually played with Jake in Cincinnati. He mentioned, like, they ended up cutting Jake toward the end of training camp and I guess like, the day before or so, Aaron talked him up to the media, saying how excited he was having him on the team, he was going to be a great No. 3 receiver, and then he’s cut the next day without Aaron’s knowledge.”

Hawk did say, though, reports about Rodgers wanting Green Bay to shake up its front office in order for him to return are untrue. The former linebacker also downplayed the contract situation.

Rodgers, perhaps trying to force the Packers’ hand, publicly supported Kumerow with roster cuts looming in September.

“Jake Kumerow has been such a solid performer for us for the last couple of years,” Rodgers said in an interview with SiriusXM Radio on Sept. 3. “I love his reliability. I think he’s a fantastic, steady player, who’s very heady on the field. He makes plays, he plays with a lot of confidence, and he’s a guy who you love having on the squad.”

The Packers released Kumerow two days later.

This isn’t something new for Rodgers. He expressed some frustration when the Packers let quarterback coach Alex Van Pelt walk in 2018.

“Well, my quarterback coach didn’t get retained,” Rodgers said on ESPN Radio at the time. “I thought that was an interesting change, really without consulting me. There’s a close connection between quarterback and quarterback coach, and that was an interesting decision.”

Obviously, Kumerow alone isn’t the reason for Rodgers’ unhappiness in Green Bay, but it seemingly helps tell the story of why the reigning MVP might want out.

Thumbnail photo via Ed Mulholland/USA TODAY Sports Images

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