“Some things are better left unsaid.” – Rodgers to King on details of offseason with Packers
“Last year at this time, I was looking at the season as my last year in Green Bay.” – Rodgers to King on his mindset heading into 2020 season
“(Patrick) Mahomes is the standard in the AFC…It is fair to judge (Josh) Allen against the best—because he has a good chance to be the best.” – King on Bills QB Josh Allen
“The Bears need an adult in the room and a 15-year plan that works with a quarterback, finally.” – King on the Bears developing rookie QB Justin Fields
STAMFORD, Conn. – Aug. 16, 2021 – Peter King speaks with Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and continues his annual training camp tour with visits to the Packers, Colts, Bills and Bears in this week’s edition of Football Morning in America, available now exclusively on NBCSports.com. King provides insights from each camp and also speaks with Colts head coach Frank Reich, Bills quarterback Josh Allen and Bears head coach Matt Nagy.
The following are highlights from this week’s edition of Football Morning in America:
GREEN BAY PACKERS
Aaron Rodgers to King on the details of his offseason with the Packers: “Some things are better left unsaid.”
King on Rodgers: “One word to describe Aaron Rodgers right now, at this moment, at 37, after five months of tumult, entering a Packers season he had serious doubts that he’d be part of a month ago: Zen.”
Rodgers to King on addressing teammates after first training camp practice: “I said your thoughts are becoming real things. I talked about a positive mindset. I did want to assure the guys how special it was to be back, how committed I am to the team, how special the relationships are to me, how focused I am on this season and accomplishing all of our goals. But I talk a lot about positivity, about a mindset, about manifestation, about embracing the journey. That stuff that’s really important to me. Be present. This is a great time in our lives.”
Rodgers to King on his mindset heading into the 2020 season: “Last year at this time, I was looking at the season as my last year in Green Bay.”
King on Rodgers’ future with Packers: “I don’t think Rodgers knows what 2022 will bring. The Packers certainly don’t.”
Rodgers to King on being at training camp: “I really do love it…Otherwise, I wouldn’t have come back. I’ve got so many other things that I love and I’m passionate about. I love competing. I love practice, still.”
Rodgers to King on his relationship with Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst: “I leave space and optimism for growth and change. But, you know, at this point, my focus is just on the football staff and making sure those conversations and communication are right going into the season.”
Rodgers to King on his time with the Packers: “I have a ton of gratitude for this city, and the organization, the opportunities I’ve been given here. That’s what I choose to focus on—the things that I do have. That’s a lot of great relationships in the building, an incredible fan base that comes out and watches us every day in training camp. It’s been 16-plus really special years.”
King on Colts rookie quarterback Sam Ehlinger having “it”: “That’s become a football cliché, and I thought a while before using it. It’s here because Ehlinger just radiates it, even in the short meeting I had with him.”
King on Ehlinger: “He makes quick and smart decisions, probably the result of starting 42 games in the Big 12 at Texas. And he is 22 going on 42, and that’s a trait a quarterback coach cannot teach.”
Colts head coach Frank Reich to King on being with Ehlinger when he found out his brother died: “The first time I’m with Sam is the worst moment of his life…He found out in the building, then he went out to our practice field, and he’s on his knees, wailing, crying, totally grief-stricken, heartbroken. It was the depth of despair that has a feel you can’t put into words. I don’t know Sam, but he is a brother in Christ, and the amazing thing about this moment is he was pounding his fist on the turf one minute, screaming, ‘Why Lord?’ And the next minute he’s quoting Scripture. I just put my hand on his shoulder and tried to be there for him.”
Ehlinger to King on dealing with the death of his brother: “It’s been very difficult for me. I’m not going to act like it’s easy…It’s just important to let those emotions come, not suppress them and push them down, and it certainly comes. It’s not easy and some days are better than others, but continuing to press on, try to stay in the moment and remember the good times is kind of my motto.”
King on comparing Bills quarterback Josh Allen to Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes: “You might say it’s unfair to measure him against Mahomes, solely. But it’s not. Mahomes is the standard in the AFC…It is fair to judge Allen against the best—because he has a good chance to be the best.”
Allen to King on his mental outlook: “Just trying not to be a hero…Trust in the guys on the field with me, trust in the playcalls, and not try to do too much and I think that’s something that I kind of had in my rookie year was trying to play hero-ball and it’s something I’ve been working on. I’ve got an extreme amount of trust in the guys on the field with me, with coach Dabs [offensive coordinator Brian Daboll] and the relationship we have with calling plays and us going out and executing. So I’m in a really good spot mentally with that and I feel like I’m getting better every day with that.”
King on the Bills: “The Bills know they’re going to be contenders every season for the foreseeable future. They’ve got a quarterback who can play at the highest level of the sport. Now he’s got to take the next step. He’s got to win the biggest games.”
Bears head coach Matt Nagy to King on rookie quarterback Justin Fields becoming the starter: “If we play Justin early to satisfy our needs, and not to do what’s best for Justin and the Chicago Bears, we’re going to ruin Justin and hurt the Bears…We need to do is what’s best for the Chicago Bears—not only right now but we want this to be something that lasts 15 years. Not two years.”
Nagy to King on Justin Fields playing: “What happens is, people get stuck in the moment, and they do it to satisfy themselves. I’m gonna do what’s best for Justin Fields. Not for Matt Nagy… When you start doing things to do things for yourself, you’re wrong. You’re dead wrong. I’m not letting that happen. We are going to develop Justin right, and we’re sticking to it.”
King on the Bears’ patience in developing Fields: “Don’t tell me the fans are tired of bad quarterback play and deserve a great young player NOW and blah, blah, blah. The Bears need an adult in the room and a 15-year plan that works with a quarterback, finally.”
NEWS & NOTES
King on the New York Jets’ lack of a veteran backup quarterback: “It continues to bother me that the Jets don’t have a veteran backup for (Zach) Wilson; the pressure on him in New York is going to be immense, and who’s going to be his Josh McCown/Nick Foles to help him get through those moments? I’ve got one: Foles. With the Colts unlikely to go after Foles now that Carson Wentz’s foot injury seems short-term, the wise Foles is the best guy for GM Joe Douglas to target, even at an inflated backup price.”
Doug Pederson to King on coaching again in the NFL: “I had two chances to get back in, but it just didn’t feel right, to rush back …I needed time away, to clear my head. But I do want to coach again. I’d love to coach next season. The longer you’re out, the harder it is to get back in.”
King on the Texans and quarterback Deshaun Watson: “The smartest thing the Texans could do—and should have done three weeks ago at the start of camp—is to say to Watson: Okay, you’ve reported to camp. We’re going to count you among our 90 players. We won’t fine you or discipline you. Now, go work out on your own somewhere and we’ll call you if anything changes. He’s not playing for the Texans again, or at least he’s not playing for them till this situation with his 20-some accusers is resolved. What good does it do to have him around training camp every day? It’s embarrassing for everyone.”
Read the full FMIA column here and catch the weekly Peter King Podcast here.
The following are additional highlights of NBC Sports’ NFL coverage:
- PFT Live with NBC Sports’ Mike Florio and Chris Simms returned today and streams live on Peacock from 7 a.m. – 9 a.m. ET on weekdays, followed by The Dan Patrick Show at 9 a.m. ET, The Rich Eisen Show at Noon ET, Brother From Another at 3 p.m. ET, PFT PM at 5 p.m. ET. At 6 p.m. ET, Chris Simms Unbuttoned, which also returns this week, streams Tuesday-Friday.
- com continues to provide the latest news and updates.
- NBC Sports EDGE’s A Good Football Show continue the NFL discussion.
A new “Football Morning in America” posts every Monday morning exclusively on NBCSports.com through the NFL season. It was announced in May 2019 that King signed an exclusive agreement with NBC Sports Group that included writing a weekly Monday morning NFL column for NBCSports.com; making regular appearances on PFT Live with Mike Florio; and continuing to contribute to Football Night in America, the most-watched studio show in sports.