Aaron Rodgers and Matt LaFleur responded to Za’Darius Smith’s claims that he was mistreated by the Green Bay Packers after getting injured last year.
Week 1 will feature a battle between NFC North rivals between the Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings. The matchup features Za’Darius Smith, who is now a member of the Vikings after spending the previous three years with the Packers. Ahead of the season, Smith claimed that he was “treated bad” by the Packers last year after he got hurt.
When speaking to the media on Wednesday, head coach Matt LaFleur responded to Smith’s claims, saying that he has “a different perspective on how things transpired.” Quarterback Aaron Rodgers was also asked about Smith’s comments, where he said he didn’t “want to add fuel to the fire,” but expressed that he agreed with what LaFleur had to say.
The quotes come courtesy of The Athletic’s Matt Schneidman.
Aaron Rodgers, Matt LaFleur respond to Za’Darius Smith’s claims
Smtih’s comments were from an interview with Tyler Dunne of GoLongTD.com. This is what he had to say about his experience after he picked up a back injury that limited him to just one regular-season game:
“How I was here in the building,” Smith said, h/t ESPN. “I came down to here. To a nobody. To everybody in building. I was like, ‘Damn, why am I being treated like this? I brought the culture. I helped change this s—. Why the f— am I the one being treated like that?’
“Walking past me not saying nothing. ‘Z, how’s your back doing?’ There was none of that. As you can see, that adds on to why I’m on the other side. So, I can go back. I get to go back two times a year.”
After the season, the Packers released Smith from his contract, as he was set to count for $27.6 million in cap space for the 2022 season. Smith had originally agreed to a deal with the Baltimore Ravens, but it fell through. That is when he signed a three-year, $42 million contract with the Vikings.
In his three years with the Packers (33 regular-season games), Smith recorded 108 combined tackles, 60 quarterback hits, 26 sacks, five forced fumbles, and two fumble recoveries.
Packers and Vikings will take place on Sunday, Sept. 11 at 4:25 p.m. ET.