Aaron Rodgers addresses hurt Packers
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- This time it's a comment -- not a tweet -- that's created another rift as the Green Bay Packers prepare for the Super Bowl.
And it's deep enough that one of team's most vocal Twitter users is vowing to quit using the service.
Injured linebacker Nick Barnett said he's ending his account at the social media site, which has caused a wave of player incidents and backlash in the last week on everything from Jay Cutler's knee to who will be in a Super Bowl team photo.
The most recent hurt feelings in Green Bay began when Aaron Rodgers was asked during a five-minute media availability Saturday if he feels for his teammates on injured reserve because they can't take part in the run-up to the game next Sunday.
Rodgers made a point of saying that when he spent time on injured reserve in 2006, he stayed in Green Bay to finish the season instead of returning home to California.
He never mentioned teammates by name, but said that some of Green Bay's 16 players listed on the injured reserve this season chose not to rehab locally.
"I'll say this, I was on IR back in 2006 and I chose to stick around and finish out the season with my guys and be here every game. Some of those guys didn't," Rodgers said. "We love them, we care about them, we don't wish injury on anybody, but this is a group of guys that's really come together and it's been great to work with the guys we've brought in midseason, some of them, and the young guys.
"Some of the guys who were injured, they still are part of this team, but some of them didn't choose to stick around."
Rodgers also was asked whether he'd feel closer to the injured players if they had stayed in Green Bay.
"Well, they're part of this team, first and foremost, but some guys choose to do their rehab in other places," Rodgers said.
The comments apparently irked Barnett, who posted on Twitter that he plans to delete his account, though it remained active Saturday afternoon.
"All I wanted to be is included as a teammate nothing more," Barnett tweeted. "Looks like it has backfired on me.. I guess That was asking too much... Sorry if I offended anyone."
Barnett and tight end Jermichael Finley took to Twitter this week to complain that they weren't going to be in the photo because it was scheduled to be taken Tuesday, two days before injured players are to arrive in Dallas.
Rodgers and another team captain, Charles Woodson, brought the issue to the attention of coach Mike McCarthy and they decided to reschedule the photo for Friday so that everyone could participate.
McCarthy said Thursday the players made a "poor decision" when they complained about it in public, but that it was no big deal to change the timing of the photo.
At the time, McCarthy said the attention paid to the issue was a "total overreaction." He completed his media availability Saturday before Rodgers made his comments.
On Thursday, McCarthy had said that he's been advised to expect such distractions while preparing his team for the Super Bowl.
"We'll be as organized as we possibly can," McCarthy said. "Something is going to be screwed up. I've been told that by a number of coaches. So you have to be able to let it roll off your back, and somebody else is going to get their feelings hurt. We're going to continue to make sure that we do everything that's in the best interests of getting our football team ready to win this game."
During Rodgers' comments to the media Saturday he also said that he's healthy, refuting a report that he may have had another head injury after a helmet-to-helmet hit by Bears defensive end Julius Peppers in the NFC championship game that drew a $10,000 fine.
"Contrary to any reports out there, I didn't suffer a concussion and I don't know what Mike was talking about as far as my shoulder," Rodgers said. "I'm good to go, 100 percent."
Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press
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