The Month In Quotes: July 2021
THE WEEK IN AARON RODGERS
"As I felt like, 'If you can't commit to me past 2021, and I'm not a part of recruiting process in free agency, if I'm not a part of the future, instead of letting me be a lame-duck quarterback, if you want to make a change and move forward, then go ahead and do it.'
"Post the draft, what basically happened was [the front office] said, 'We'll give you some money now. Let's see if we can throw some money at you,' and I said from the start it wasn't about the money. … Obviously, I didn't show up for the offseason program or minicamp. To me, it was bigger than this. It was about being a resource for the organization."
—Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers spoke extremely candidly during his first press conference since re-joining the team. Rodgers restructured a contract that effectively affords him one last season with the Packers.
"I think we can all understand, you know, Green Bay isn't a huge vacation destination. People are coming here to play with me, play with our team, knowing that they can win a championship here, and the fact that I haven't been used in those discussions was one I wanted to change moving forward."
—Rodgers stating the obvious: Green Bay is no Miami or Los Angeles.
"I just expressed my desire to be more involved in conversations directly affecting my job. Also, I wanted to help the organization learn from maybe some of their mistakes in the past on how outgoing veterans were treated."
"There's not many people who've been in a position of influence longer than I have in this building, so it gives me a unique perspective to shed light on things and work together. One of the most important things is chemistry and cohesion in an organization. It's not where I need to have final say on anything. I never asked for that. I just want to be in the conversation. I'm interested in how they look at certain players."
"I'm not asking for anything that other great quarterbacks across the last few decades have not gotten—the opportunity to just be in the conversation."
—Rodgers on his desire for more say on roster decisions within the organization. (Fox Sports)
"I love this team, I love the or— you know, the fans, and the opportunity to play on Lambeau Field has been a dream come true. To be in my 17th season is really special."
—One quote that many people have taken to on Twitter, debating as to whether Rodgers' omission of the word "organization" was purposeful. (Field Yates, ESPN via Twitter)
"I wouldn't say I have any regrets. Obviously, this is a hard business. This is a tough business. When it comes to an end for any player, I don't think it usually goes well, I don't think they usually feel good about it. We are always very sensitive to what those players have given this organization, and when we go through that, it's always with class and dignity. But again, it's a hard business.
"Sometimes, we, the Packers, may take the brunt of what is the NFL business. While those decisions are hard, they have to be made for the team to grow. Keeping players longer than maybe we should, all of a sudden we're not signing guys we should later down the road. It's a domino effect, and it's hard on players. Players should have those feelings. It's hard, and you play as long as Aaron has, you're going to see a lot of that."
—Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst responds to the Rodgers presser. (Field Yates, ESPN via Twitter)
TOO BIG FOR THE FISH TANK
"In 2018 I signed an extension that I'll admit I didn't completely understand, or feel comfortable with. I've played on that deal for two seasons and didn't complain, but everyone knows I've significantly outperformed that deal. I'm one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL, and the tape backs up that claim. The assignments I'm given, shadowing the opposition's best player with little help, proves my value, my worth. Yet I'm the second highest paid cornerback on my own team, and it's not even close."
—An excerpt from Miami Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard's public request for a trade. Howard mentioned that he and his agent have tried to work things out with Miami, but to no avail. Howard has since reported to camp and is continuing to participate as usual until he is moved. (Mike Garafolo, NFL Network via Twitter)
"There's a way. I think we just continue to have discussions with him, his representation, and keep the lines of communication open, continue having dialogue and, hopefully, work something out. At the same time, we've got 90, 89 other guys that we'll be working with, to include X. Try to build this team and improve on a day-to-day basis, build team chemistry. That's where most of our focus is. The X thing is something we're having discussions about as well."
—Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores remains optimistic about resolving the situation. (Miami Herald)
NOW? DO ALL THE 'HORNS DOWN' YOU WANT
"If you do a Horns Down to a Texas player, that's probably going to be a foul. If you do a Horns Down to the crowd, it probably won't be a foul. ... I promise you we discuss this every year because we know you discuss this every year."
—In mid-July, Big 12 coordinator of officials Greg Burks broke down how the conference would be penalizing the "Horns Down" gesture against University of Texas players. Since then, the Southeastern Conference has formally extended invitations to Oklahoma University and the University of Texas to leave the Big 12 and join the SEC once their media contracts expire in 2025. (Brian Davis, Austin American-Statesman)
JARED GOFF > MATTHEW STAFFORD CONFIRMED
"[Matt Stafford]'s the same quarterback who was on the Detroit Lions and they still didn't go to the playoffs, and they had Megatron. What was the problem over there in Detroit?
"They went and traded Jared Goff, who went to the playoffs several times and went to the Super Bowl. Yeah, he lost. He went to the Super Bowl, though. I've yet to see that with Matt Stafford.
"He's still great. I believe he's a top-10 quarterback, maybe top-five. I don't know. We'll see. I'm just going off of what I see. And I see Jared Goff got those boys to the Super Bowl."
—San Francisco 49ers safety Jimmie Ward gave his two cents on the newest starting quarterback of the NFC West: Matthew Stafford of the Los Angeles Rams. (B/R Gridiron via Instagram)
CORNERBACKS NEED TO HAVE SHORT MEMORIES
"I'm not surprised. They always find a way to take care of the offensive guys. But I don't know why defensive guys always get looked upon the way that they do in that organization. It's just weird to me."
—Minnesota Vikings cornerback Patrick Peterson blasted the Arizona Cardinals for not properly paying his former teammate, edge rusher Chandler Jones. Peterson cited Arizona's penchant for taking care of offensive players more often than defensive players. It should be noted that the five-year, $70-million extension that Peterson signed with the Cardinals in 2014 made him the highest-paid cornerback in the NFL at the time. (Chuck Harrison, CardsWire via Twitter)
TWIN BOWL 2021 IS OFFICIALLY UNDERWAY
Reporter: "What is the last time you guys played each other not on the same team?"
Shaquill Griffin: "Never."
Shaquill Griffin: "Never. Besides one-on-one in the backyard, or racing somewhere in the street. But yeah, I'm already talking trash. I don't care. You know, I told him to make sure to have your passports ready, because I need to make sure you make it. No excuse. And I told him I might walk up while he's in warmups and push him down. (shrugs) So yeah. I already started my trash talk, and I'm not changing. So I can't wait to see him. It's going to be different. It's going to be exciting to see. First time a group of twins has gone against each other. Y'all make sure y'all blow that story up, because it's on and poppin' when I see him."
—Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback Shaquill Griffin has never played football against his twin brother Shaquem. Now that Shaquem has signed to play outside linebacker for the Miami Dolphins, the London meeting between the Jaguars and Dolphins will give them that opportunity.
"If you wanna wrestle on the 50-yard line before the game just say it."
—Shaquem's response to a clip from Shaquill's trash talk. (Shaquem Griffin via Twitter)
RELIGION, PIGSKIN, CHICKEN
"Coming down here to the South, one thing I definitely learned is: Jesus is No. 1, then football, and then people love Bojangles."
—Clemson Tigers quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei has his priorities in order. (Trevor Sikkema, The Draft Network via Twitter)
GET BUSY LIVIN', OR GET BUSY PLAYIN' FOR HOUSTON
"Green Bay is like a Fortune 500 company and Houston is like a start-up."
—Green Bay Packers wide receiver Randall Cobb comparing his new/old team to the Houston Texans, for whom he played in 2020. (NFL.com)
MEMORIES FADE, BUT 28-3 LIVES FOREVER
"Everyone talks about us—not us, talks about me throwing it too much in the Super Bowl with the Falcons. But we ran it more in the second half than we did in the first half. It was about not having the ball. But I will say, I sat there so long and watched Tom Brady just pick us apart and go 34, 36, whatever he did. And I remember saying, 'If we get this ball back, I'm not waiting. We gotta go.' And Julio [Jones] got that huge play where it was just like, 'Oh my God, Julio's unstoppable.' And we ran the ball, and it got to second-and-10.
"The last time I was down there, it was second-and-10. I ran the ball and they stuffed us. And got us to third-and-11. We also had a holding call on it and it knocked us back out of field goal range. So we threw it to Julio, he caught that. I ran it the next play, got it to second-and-10. And I was like, 'I'm going right to Julio.' And I called a play to totally go to Julio. Right when we snapped it, the coverage took it away, so it was the wrong call. I wish we didn't take a sack, but no one was open and we ended up taking a sack. Right then I was like, 'Oh my God, why did I just try to end it?'
"That got in me. It was like I knew because it was a buildup for an hour watching Tom. I'm like 'Man, I just tried to end it.' I think I was thinking right, because who the hell is not going to Julio Jones right now? And oh my God, now we're not. I've got to throw the ball to get back to field goal range. So the next play, I threw the ball. It was a 5-yard out to Mohamed Sanu, caught it, turned up the field for a 12-yard gain. Back in field goal range, but they called a holding on our left tackle in Jake Matthews on Chris Long. Which wasn't even close to holding that happened on every third down in the Super Bowl about two or three years later. But it got called that day, so I had to deal with it, and then you've got to live with it the rest of your life. And it's just … those are the things."
—San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan offers a rare reflection on his time as Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator during Super Bowl LI. (The Ringer via Twitter)
12? NO, WE CAN ONLY PUT 11 PLAYERS ON THE FIELD AT ONCE
Adam Luckett, Kentucky Sports Radio: "Dave Aranda last week at Big 12 Media Day said defenses now are getting more aggressive, getting negative plays. Tackles for loss, sacks are now more important. So he thinks that an evolution might be 123 personnel, 13 personnel, wide zone. Do you see that? The college game going that way? Or is it still important to spread it out and hit explosives in the vertical passing game?"
Nick Saban: "Uh … what is 12 personnel? I-I don't…"
AL: "I think it's a two-tight end set."
NS: "Two-tight end?"
AL: "Yes sir."
NS: "And two wide receivers, or one? I'm just kidding. I know what 12 personnel is."
—Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban plays dumb for a few moments as Kentucky Sports Radio's Adam Luckett asks whether multiple-tight end sets will be the future for college football offenses. (Tyler Thompson, Kentucky Sports Radio via Twitter)
FOOTBALL BORROWING FROM FOOTBALL
Megan Rapinoe: "Do you think that the NFL could borrow anything from soccer?"
Peyton Manning: "I'd be in favor of relegation. I'd like to relegate the Patriots. Is that an option?"
—In the premiere episode of ESPN+ series Abby's Places, former NFL quarterback Peyton Manning reveals what he'd like football to borrow from soccer. Pettiness aside, this is genius. (ESPN+ via Twitter)
MR. BRADY GOES TO WASHINGTON
"I think what's behind me is an amazing group of players, we have a bunch of coaches and staff here sitting down, and it was actually a very challenging season for a lot of reasons. But we bonded together, we worked really hard, we put all our individual agendas aside and we came together as a team. ... It didn't look great there at one point. We were 7-5, struggling a little bit, as the president alluded to. But we found our rhythm. We got on a roll. Not a lot of people think that we could've won. In fact, I think about 40% of people still don't think we won."
"Personally, it's nice for me to be back here. We had a game in Chicago where I forgot what down it was. I lost track of one down in 21 years of playing and they started calling me Sleepy Tom. Why would they do that to me?"
—Some excerpts from Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady's address during the team's championship visit with President Biden at the White House. (NFL.com)
THE MONTH IN SOCIAL MEDIA
WHO ELSE IS ON THE CALL?
"Oh, Aaron's on the line? I didn't even know that."
— B/R Gridiron (@brgridiron) July 7, 2021
—Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady and tight end Rob Gronkowski run a tag-team trash talk clinic against Aaron Rodgers during TNT's The Match, only for Gronk to find out Rodgers was listening the whole time.
MARSHAWN LYNCH: THE FACE OF SEATTLE SPORTS
Let Marshawn announce every pick. pic.twitter.com/t0Jv8NJF5e
— Field Yates (@FieldYates) July 22, 2021
—Former Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch delivers a memorable announcement of the Seattle Kraken's first-ever player, former Nashville Predators forward Calle Jarnkrok, during the NHL expansion draft.
SCATTERED, SMOTHERED, AND COVERED
— TURRON DAVENPORT (@TDavenport_NFL) July 28, 2021
—Tennessee Titans wide receiver Julio Jones is kicking off the season's best cleats conversation with some heat straight from the Waffle House kitchens.