Dianna Russini Credit: Pardon My Take

Aaron Rodgers has taken just four regular season snaps for the New York Jets, but he’s caused about 400 distractions, the latest being his enigmatic absence from mandatory minicamp.

Five months after urging the Jets to “flush the bullsh*t” and three weeks after insisting he hasn’t been a distraction, Rodgers is a no-show at mandatory minicamp. Wednesday morning, NFL insider for The Athletic, Dianna Russini joined WFAN’s Boomer Esiason and Gregg Giannotti to discuss Rodgers’ whereabouts. During the conversation, Giannotti asked whether it was possible that Rodgers was dealing with a private matter that would make people understand his absence.

“No” Russini said definitively. “I’ve spoken to enough people around the league, with the Jets, people close to Aaron because I asked the same question. That was my first thought, that maybe there was something going on here. And we’ve all been doing this long enough to know, make sure you get all your facts before you start criticizing or maybe even putting out some reports about what’s going on. So, from the information I’ve been gathering, this is a choice. This is 100% Aaron Rodgers making a choice to not be at football practice with the New York Jets while the rest of the team is there working.”

“It’s just all self-inflicted,” Russini continued. “And I think that’s the hardest part about covering the Jets. It just feels like they do it to themselves at times… It’s just a problem that just never seems to get resolved.”

Jets fans have theorized Russini has it out for Rodgers, particularly after the quarterback criticized her for reporting he gave the Jets a wish list of free agent targets before getting traded to New York. Russini drew the ire of Rodgers again after reporting Zach Wilson was reluctant to reenter the Jets starting lineup last December. And Russini drew the ire of Jets fans again when she reported on the organization’s toxic culture earlier this year.

But don’t hate the messenger.

“It’s not like I have this vendetta against this team,” Russini told Esiason and Giannotti. “I love covering the Jets. In fact, there are times I’m happy for their successes, I want to see them do well. It’s just… I can’t get through a week without something. And that’s always so interesting about this cause Jets fans think, ‘This girl’s the worst, she’s always stirring the pot.’ I did not trade for Aaron Rodgers. I did not name Nathaniel Hackett the offensive coordinator. I did not trade for Allen Lazard. I did not do any of this. You guys did it.”

And they did it again this week. The Jets labeled Rodgers’ absence as unexcused and “inexcused.” The Jets knew Rodgers was going to be a no-show, but opted not to leak it beforehand or give backup quarterback Tyrod Taylor a heads up. The Jets knew Rodgers was going to be off the grid this week for whatever reason and chose not to schedule minicamp around their starting quarterback. The Jets had options, but they were handed this potential distraction from Rodgers and chose to pour gasoline on the fire instead of putting it out weeks ago.


About Brandon Contes

Brandon Contes is a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. He previously helped carve the sports vertical for Mediaite and spent more than three years with Barrett Sports Media. Send tips/comments/complaints to bcontes@thecomeback.com