After the NFC Championship loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, there were many uncertainties about the future of the Green Bay Packers’ organization.
There was also sadness, because many figured that it would be the last time we saw Aaron Jones in the green and yellow. The upcoming offseason would be his first testing the market as a free agent – and surely he could make big money elsewhere if he wanted to.
After all, he’s posted back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons and scored double digit touchdowns in both 2019 and 2020. He’s proven to be one of the most explosive running backs in the NFL time and time again.
Instead of leaving, Jones signed back with the Packers on a four-year contract extension worth up to $48 million. His deal was team-friendly, only hitting the cap $4.5 million in 2021.
One important Aaron on the roster hasn’t shown his face in Green Bay since leaving after the 2020 season was over. Not surprisingly, when the news broke of Aaron Rodgers’ reported unhappiness with the Packers, the team’s Super Bowl odds fell to +1600 from the original +900 (according to Sports Betting Dime).
Conversely, another Aaron (Jones) has been present at every opportunity – including the voluntary OTAs on June 15.
Out of 55 players at the voluntary practice, Jones was the only starter present. 35 players on the roster decided to skip out on the non-mandatory practice session.
Listen, I’m not the guy to sit up here and act like all the players on the roster need to be at voluntary practices. There’s enough mandatory things that NFL players need to do during the regular season and the offseason,
It just speaks volumes to me that the same guy who just picked up a massive contract extension was the only starter present at the voluntary practice.
He really didn’t need to be there. He’s already proven himself and his worth to the organization.
Yet, there he was. Setting an example for the young guys and unproven players.
“He doesn’t have to be here,” rookie wide receiver Amari Rodgers said. “He was here from day one, being that example, being that guy that everybody was looking at.”
It’s probably a big reason why the Packers and management worked so hard to get him back.
Jones has carried himself with nothing but class over these past four seasons. Whether he’s rushing for 200 yards in a game, or taking a back-seat while someone else shines, Jones has always been the ultimate Green Bay Packer.
And I’m glad he’s on the team I root for.——————
Gunnar Davis is a lifelong Packers fan and a recent graduate of Simpson College, where he was a 3-year letterwinner on the offensive line and graduated with a degree in multimedia communications. You can follow him on Twitter at @Gunnar57Davis.