“I think I just fell back in love with football the last few years. It’s due to a mindset but also the people.” – Aaron Rodgers to King
“We spend a lot of time in this game on our bodies. We need to spend as much time on our minds.” – Titans head coach Mike Vrabel to King on the importance of mental health
“I think the addition of new special-teams coach Rich Bisaccia will be more significant to this Green Bay season than the subtraction of Davante Adams.” – King on Rich Bisaccia’s impact on the Packers
“If Robinson’s suspension with no additional fine other than six game checks stands, it means Watson would lose 0.7 percent of his $46-million total compensation this year. That’s almost absurd beyond words.” – Peter King on Deshaun Watson’s potential punishment
STAMFORD, Conn. – August 8, 2022 – Peter King speaks with Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase, and Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Vrabel as he continues his 2022 NFL Training Camp Tour in this week’s edition of Football Morning in America, available now exclusively on NBCSports.com. King also discusses the Deshaun Watson suspension, the Miami Dolphins’ tampering situation, Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford’s elbow injury, and more.
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The following are highlights from this week’s edition of Football Morning in America:
GREEN BAY PACKERS
Packers QB Aaron Rodgers on his offseason experience with ayahuasca and what it taught him: “I think it’s unlocked a lot of my heart. Being able to fully give my heart to my teammates, my loved ones, relationships because I can fully embrace unconditionally myself.”
Rodgers on falling in love with football again: “I think I just fell back in love with football the last few years. It’s due to a mindset but also the people. I really do. I give credit to the Nathaniel Hacketts of the world and Luke Getsy, Justin Outten, Matt LaFleur — and Tom Clements coming back. Randall Cobb coming back and Marcedes Lewis. Robert Tonyan and Allen Lazard and Mason Crosby, and of course David Bakhtiari. I love my teammates so much. I love the opportunity to do this.”
Rodgers on his playoff losses: “I’m hurt by all the playoff losses…When you think about the worst losses in your career, I mean both of them were in Seattle – the Fail Mary game in 2012, NFC Championship in the ’14 season. But they all stick with you, because you think about what you could’ve done better. Plays you should’ve made.”
King on new Packers special teams coach Rich Bisaccia: “I think the addition of new special-teams coach Rich Bisaccia will be more significant to this Green Bay season than the subtraction of a great wide receiver, Davante Adams.”
King: “The Packers have had lethally bad special teams in recent years — they lost the divisional playoff game to San Francisco last year because of them — and now they have one of the best kicking-team coaches in the game with the addition of the interim Raiders coach last year. Bisaccia’s impact will be huge.”
Bisaccia on his self-titled ‘Wefense’ ethos: “It takes the whole team. I tell the players, ‘The only ‘I’ I want to hear is what can I do to help us win.’”
Packers head coach Matt LaFleur on Bisaccia’s coaching methods: “[He] can love players tough better than any coach I’ve ever met. He’s ultra-demanding but earns their respect by really caring about them. It’s an art, what he’s able to do.”
Bengals WR and 2021 Offensive Rookie of the Year Ja’Marr Chase to King, comparing himself to former LSU teammate and current Vikings WR Justin Jefferson: “I’m better than Justin.”
Chase on if he’s better than Raiders WR Davante Adams: “I don’t know if I’m better … but I watch his film all the time. He told me he watches my film. That’s definitely something to keep me working.”
Peter King on what the Bengals need to do to return to the Super Bowl: “For the Bengals to get to a second straight Super Bowl, the retooled offensive line needs to build a better shield around Joe Burrow (72 sacks in 21 games, by far the most in football).”
King: “The Bengals need a healthy, full dose of their trio [of WRs Chase, Tee Higgins, and Tyler Boyd] to be great again. Because now the rest of the league looks at the Bengals on the schedule as a challenge, not a bye week.”
- Watch Now: Click here to watch King interview Chase at Bengals training camp
Titans head coach Mike Vrabel to King when asked about the Titans’ image: “I try not to focus on things that don’t matter. We just try to build a foundation to help us withstand the ups and downs of an NFL season.”
Titans QB Ryan Tannehill to King on addressing his mental health after Tennessee’s playoff loss in January: “It wasn’t something that I just passively got through. I was intentionally seeking out help, talking to somebody and trying to work through the mental side of it.”
Tannehill: “Now, it’s a scar. It’s always there. You remember it. But it’s not a wound anymore. It doesn’t hurt the same…This is a new year. We have everything out in front of us. What happened last year, whether it was good or bad, it doesn’t matter at this point. You have to take each day as its own and take advantage of it.”
Vrabel on the importance of taking care of athletes’ mental health: “We spend a lot of time in this game on our bodies. We need to spend as much time on our minds.”
- Watch Now: Click here to watch King interview Tannehill at Titans training camp
King on the new-look Bears: “I don’t think this is a make-or-break year for [QB Justin] Fields. He’ll have every chance to win the job long term, and patience will be a virtue with this staff.”
Bears QB Justin Fields on offensive coordinator Luke Getsy: “Probably the best quarterback coach I’ve had in my life.”
King on the Bears’ long-term future: “I’m not bullish on the Bears to contend this year. On the total rebuilds — Bears, Giants, Texans, Jags — that’s really okay. In fact, it’s preferable. I am bullish on the groundwork being laid by [GM Ryan] Poles and [head coach Matt] Eberflus.”
- Watch Now: Click here to watch King interview Fields at Bears training camp
DESHAUN WATSON SUSPENSION
King on Browns QB Deshaun Watson’s six-game suspension: “The length of the ban is six games too short.”
King on arbitrator Sue L. Robinson’s characterization of Watson’s offenses: “Robinson’s characterization of the offenses as ‘non-violent sexual assault’ really feels wrong…I felt she minimized the acts she finds Watson to have committed.”
King on the structure of Watson’s contract amid his suspension: “One influential NFL person told me on this trip that it doesn’t sit well with the league or 31 other owners that the Browns rigged the Watson contract so that his suspension would cause him to lose only a fraction of his 2022 compensation.”
King: “If Robinson’s suspension with no additional fine other than six game checks stands, it means Watson would lose 0.7 percent of his $46-million total compensation this year. That’s almost absurd beyond words.”
King on Watson’s public reaction: “Blows my mind Watson has shown no public remorse in this case.”
NEWS & NOTES
King on Tom Brady’s involvement in the Dolphins’ tampering scandal to recruit him: “This makes Tom Brady look bad, obviously, like it’s okay for him to play by a different set of rules because he’s Tom Brady…Whenever he does speak, this is going to be very hard to justify in any way.”
King on the Dolphins’ future plans now that they have lost their 2023 first and third round picks: “Theoretically, if their two picks were in the 15 to 22 range, maybe they could package those two plus their one in 2024 to move up to three or four to get a quarterback. That’s out the window now.”
King: “This ratchets up the pressure on [Dolphins QB Tua] Tagovailoa. Now there’s really no Plan B for 2023. Maybe you’d say it’s great for Tagovailoa — he can play free and easy knowing it’s going to be his job going forward…But I say there’s just as good a chance he feels the heat of, Dude, you simply cannot fail.”
King on Rams QB Matthew Stafford’s elbow soreness: “The scariest injury news for any team in the league is the elbow soreness that Matthew Stafford has. The Super Bowl champs won’t have a chance to repeat if Stafford misses serious time with an injury.”
King on Browns RB Kareem Hunt not practicing because he wants a new contract: “Football doesn’t work that way, particularly at running back. Backups, even excellent ones, don’t get paid like starters particularly in an era of declining running-back value.”
The following are additional highlights of NBC Sports’ NFL coverage:
- PFT Live with NBC Sports’ Mike Florio (Mondays) and Florio and Chris Simms (Tuesday-Thursday) streams on Peacock from 7 a.m. – 9 a.m. ET on weekdays & is available on-demand. The Dan Patrick Show streams 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 streams Tuesday-Friday.
- ProFootballTalk.com continues to provide the latest news and updates.
- NBC Sports EDGE’s A Good Football Show continues the NFL discussion and Bet The Edge Podcast provides daily betting insights.
- The NFL on NBC YouTube channel offers daily football content for free, with exclusive videos from Peter King – including his interviews with players and coaches at training camps – Mike Florio, Chris Simms, and more. To access all of these videos and more, click here to subscribe
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.