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.
Amidst a reinvigorated public outcry, the National Football League’s Washington franchise soothed decades worth of tension between itself and the Native American community by announcing the intention Monday to retire its name and logo, established since 1933.
Though it can be surely attributable to a fear of financial forfeiture more so than the righting of the moral compass of Washington majority owner Daniel Snyder, his decision to re-brand his team illustrates how this current age of heightened sensitivity toward social injustice can unravel even the most stubborn threads of tradition.
And yet the fabric of our country remains fashioned in much the same way it was nearly two months ago when George Floyd was murdered by now former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin.
A portion of law enforcement agencies from around the country have either unofficially banned, discontinued or vowed to more strictly regulate the use of the specific neck restraint that robbed Floyd of his life. Last month, New York lawmakers actually passed legislation to ban the use of chokeholds. Named after the 43-year-old Black man who was the victim of a prohibited choke hold six years ago, the Eric Garner Anti-Chokehold Act would create a new crime of aggravated strangulation punishable by up to 15 years in prison.
Still, anything short of the enactment of federal legislation to squash widespread police brutality, which is sadly more a societal norm than an anomaly, holds even less weight than any one of President Donald Trump’s disjointed proclamations about COVID-19.
Of greater substance was the introduction of two pieces of legislation — the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act and the Justice Act — last month.
Each bill sought to address the concerns of those who so passionately protested the use of deadly force against unarmed civilians, especially Black men and women, but took different routes to do so.
Paramount to both proposals was the creation of a national database on use-of-force incidents. Each bill would have restricted police chokeholds and initiated new training procedures, including increased utilization of body cameras.
However, whereas the Republican-proposed Justice Act simply encouraged police departments to end such practices as choke holds and no-knock warrants, the Democratic bill mandated those changes.
Unfortunately, unless the parties can agree to a bipartisan compromise, not a single stitch from either proposal will be written into law. With that in mind, this discussion appears destined for the shelf ahead of November’s presidential election.
Given the social climate, one would’ve hoped to have seen more tangible change than that offered by our sports leagues.
NBA players sporting various social justice messages on the backs of their jerseys while racing baseline to baseline across basketball courts emblazoned with “Black Lives Matter” is noteworthy.
The NFL committing to play “Lift Every Voice and Sing” before each one of its Week 1 contests feels patronizing but is nonetheless a pivot in the right direction for an organization that threatened to discipline any player who engaged in on-field protests of the national anthem two years ago.
But these symbolic gestures ring rather hollow to those starved for literal reform, and there’s currently little evidence to suggest an impending harvest. You don’t have to look further than Washington to see more evidence of hypocrisy — even in the midst of its play for good PR by moving beyond its slur nickname, the organization has to face well-deserved scrutiny in the face of over a dozen former female employees coming out with accusations of sexual harassment.
Seeing as how it took nearly five decades and the threat of more than a half trillion dollar loss in assets just to spur the change of Washington’s team nickname, there’s no telling what would provoke the purification of a country in which lynching is not yet a federal crime.