By Drew Stevens (@lookwhatdrewdid)
It’s as simple as this, Aaron Rodgers.
If you no longer want any part of an organization whose general manager has begun to dig your grave even as you continue to withstand the rigors of professional quarterbacking with flying colors, then you should most certainly look for a change of scenery. You see how well things are working out for Tom Brady after he ended his longterm relationship with New England, right?
He found greener — and far warmer — pastures in Tampa Bay. Now while it may be tempting to move across country where friendlier climates and your childhood favorite 49ers play, remember, that team blew its chance with you years ago. Besides, the coldest dish of revenge you could serve that bay green and cheese gold-colored front office would be aligning yourself with its sworn enemy, the Chicago Bears.
That’s how you retaliate against Brian Gutekunst, who had the audacity to trade up to select Jordan Love in last year’s NFL Draft, and head coach Matt LaFleur, who was a little too eager to co-sign that move and chose Mason Crosby’s leg, not your invaluable arm, when it mattered most. After all, when you have a chance to really stick it to your ex you don’t date a stranger. You round the bases with the best friend.
Think about it.
Not only would you move from the hallowed ground at Lambeau Field to that at Soldier Field, but you’d also go from being one of the city’s most hated visitors to one of its most beloved residents a la Dennis Rodman.
Plus, you love it here. Or at least that’s what I took from how you talked about the chills you feel before game time listening to both Jim Cornelison belt out the national anthem and Bears fans equally resounding reaction. “Those tingles over the years have made that place a really special environment,” you said in December. “And I do have a lot of respect for the organization, the fan base, their team.”
And we for you, albeit begrudgingly.
But you can’t really blame us for that though, can you? I mean, you did author a 35-16 beat down with your 240 yards and four touchdowns just a few days after speaking so highly of practically all things Chicago. Not to mention that was the 10th victory of your career in the Windy City in the 13 times you’ve played here. Hard feelings are even harder to shake when they’re mixed with the envy of watching your arch-rival swap one hall-of-fame signal caller for another while our carousel of mediocrity at that position continues to turn nonstop.
You can change that. You can rip that ride from its lousy rails. It’ll take some convincing, maybe even a little acting on your part. You’re pretty believable in those State Farm commercials. How good are you at faking or threatening retirement?
As far as compensation goes, tell Gutekunst we can offer the 20th overall pick in this year’s draft and future first-round picks in each of the next two as well. There figures to be a nice crop of blue chip offensive lineman this summer. Something for him to keep in mind given his franchise left tackle, David Bakhtiari, will be playing the rest of his career on a surgically-repaired knee. Also, considering how Kevin King had two touchdowns scored on him and drew a crippling defensive pass interference penalty that essentially robbed you of the chance to play in your second Super Bowl, it seems an upgrade at cornerback is in order. We’ve got a promising one in Jaylon Johnson he might be interested in, too.
If that package doesn’t move him, perhaps we can throw in the tag-and-trade of Allen Robinson. We’d much rather have the two of you here, but if we must sacrifice our most lethal offensive threat then so be it. You’re that special to us. Even today, just a handful of months from beginning your 17th year in the NFL.
Look. Breaking up is hard. There’s no two ways about it. But once you finish sopping up the best comfort food our city has to offer, you’ll adjust. You’ll see that while the sum of the Bears’ current weapons don’t yet compare to that of Davante Adams, Aaron Jones and Robert Tonyan, you’ve had far less to work with in your career than David Montgomery, Cole Kmet and Darnell Mooney.
None of this is to say you’d find the type of immediate success that Brady’s found with the Buccaneers. What it does mean is your arrival would, quite frankly, send an already rabid fanbase over the moon; push our mockery of a front office into credible standing; and our overworked defense into more favorable situations.
If nothing else, how satisfying would it be to flip the league’s oldest rivalry on its head, to force Gutekunst and LaFleur to forever rue the day they chose Love?
In Green Bay you had to escape the shadow of Brett Farve — who, against conventional wisdom, was cast out to the Jets of all teams after reaching near-deity status as a Cheeshead, his association with the Packers being the only one that can rival yours post-Bart Starr. Here, in Chicago, you’d cast a shadow as far as our franchise’s list of starting quarterbacks is long before you even threw your first pass in dark navy and orange.
The offseason is long. Our patience for a player your caliber has been woefully longer.
Just give it some thought.
In the amount of time it would take you to properly wash your hands twenty-one times over, George Floyd, handcuffed and face down, begged for his neck to be unpinned from the pavement of a Minneapolis street as his life slowly left him.
For several minutes Floyd pleaded for mercy from one Minneapolis police officer, who for some reason could not lift his damned knee from Floyd’s neck as it strategically cut off air and left the man gasping and crying for help.
Bystanders stood helpless providing their best assistance in making sure the entire tragic miscarriage of justice was filmed for what it was, uncut and unblinking. With more agency than those bystanders, three cops stood within earshot of Floyd’s cries for help and did nothing as they prioritized responding to a forgery tied to the Houston transplant.
After nothing more than an instruction to “relax” was offered in response, Floyd eventually lie motionless, per eye-witness accounts, and died late Monday at a nearby medical center. The four officers have since been terminated The most aggressive, the one who directly caused Floyd’s transition to the afterlife — Derek Chauvin — was charged Friday with third-degree murder and manslaughter, lesser charges are expected to be levied against the other officers.
What remained in the aftermath of the brutal actions against Floyd is further evidence of systemic police brutality against Black Americans, who are killed by police more than twice the rate of white Americans according to the Washington Post Fatal Force Database. This, despite making up less than 13 percent of the population. And that only accounts for fatal shootings that have been reported via various news outlets, social media posts and/or police departments themselves.
Those statistics, and the reality of them possibly painting a still-incomplete picture of the disproportionate rate by which Black Americans are killed by police, are frightening. What is more alarming still is how desensitized I have become, not to the victims but, to the extreme measures of force used against them.
How can we learn to trust, beyond the shadow of a doubt, the very people who, on countless occasion, violated the basic human rights of the citizens they swore to protect?
How can we prevent another four-year-old child from living with the nightmare of her mother’s 32-year-old, unarmed, Black boyfriend being shot five times at close range while she sat in the backseat during a traffic stop (Philando Castile)? Or another 43-year-old black man from being strangled to death after an attempted arrest over the sale of loose cigarettes (Eric Garner)? Or another 25-year-old black man from suffering fatal injuries after being improperly secured in the back of a police van (Freddy Gray) Or another 17-year-old black male from being shot by a cop who emptied, reloaded, then emptied again the maximum capacity of a 9mm semi-automatic firearm (Laquan McDonald)?
How can we feel secure in the justice system when the above deaths resulted in a combined sentence of just 81 months behind bars for the perpetrators? How do we mend the wounds of invalidation inflicted by the media in its inexplicable tendency to divulge a victim’s background in the immediate aftermath of these wicked acts as justification of the results?
If protests, silent or otherwise, on bended knee on a football field or by storming Capitol Hill, have yet to yield the tangible results for which they were created, then what will?
How can we reverse a trend that is, by-and-large, centuries in the making?
It would be naive to think Amy Cooper was not playing to the long-standing societal notions and stereotypical archetype some people have of Black Americans — and Black men in particular — in her shameful stunt in Central Park. Had Christian Cooper not been quick-witted enough to pull his cell phone out of his pocket, her absurd theatrics could have resulted in a much worse outcome than her loss of employment and K-9 counterpart.
So, in that environment, how can we prevent the death of another 46-year-old black man who had his neck forcibly pressed against the pavement for the same amount of time it took you to read this column?