Packers News: Jermichael Finley’s agent criticizes Rodgers

Jermichael Finley and Aaron Rodgers
Jermichael Finley and Aaron Rodgers
Jermichael Finley and Aaron Rodgers

During the Packers’ demolition of the Chicago Bears last Thursday, both Packers quarterback Aaron Rogers and Bears quarterback Jay Cutler were caught on camera screaming at their teammates.

Cutler was seen lashing out at left tackle J’Marcus Webb after repeatedly getting beat by Packers linebacker Clay Matthews. And for the much-maligned quarterback, it was just another link on a long chain of events in which he’s displayed questionable behavior.

Rodgers, on the other hand, yelled at wide receiver James James after a fourth quarter interception. For the Packers quarterback, the on-field verbal abuse of a teammate was a rarity.

National media outlets have since put both situations under the microscope over the past few days.

ESPN’s Tedy Bruschi chimed in on the so-called “controversy” earlier this week. Bruschi suggested that Cutler’s outburst towards a physical mistake was unnecessary:

“Clay Matthews has beaten many offensive tackles who are a lot better than J’Marcus Webb. So when you get on somebody and embarrass somebody on national TV for getting beat physically, it’s almost like you’re kicking a man when he’s down … It was one man against another, and you lose. You kick him when he’s down, it’s not the right thing to do.”

On the other hand, Bruschi had no problem with Rodgers lashing out at Jones following a miscommunication:

“James Jones made a mental error … That’s when you can get in their grill because they made a poor decision. That justifies any type of criticism you can give them on national TV or not.”

The Rodgers-Jones controversy took an unexpected turn when Blake Baratz, the agent for Packers tight end Jermichael Finley, took to Twitter and criticized Rodgers’s leadership.

After mentioning Drew Brees, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady as being great leaders, one of Baratz’s followers asked him why he didn’t mention Rodgers. Baratz replied, “He isn’t a great leader.”

The comments from Baratz were surprising, given that Rodgers’s leadership abilities haven’t been called into question much since taking over as the Packers’ starting quarterback. Despite Baratz insisting that his comments had nothing to do with Finley, his opinion immediately raised questions about the relationship between the outspoken tight end and his quarterback.

Surprisingly, Finley has refrained from  commenting on the situation but did take to Twitter to display his support for Rodgers. Finley tweeted, “”@AaronRodgers12 is our leader, period. … Family can disagree it makes us all stronger.”

Rodgers has since apologized to Jones for his verbal outburst last Thursday, but Jones said today that there was no need for the quarterback to apologize and showered Rodgers with praise as a leader.

“For people to question his leadership is ridiculous. He’s a natural-born leader, not just by what he says but how he carries himself, how he plays the game, how he handles certain situations. Everybody in this locker room looks up to him as a leader. Everybody in this locker room believes in him.”

Baratz has since clarified his comments, stressing that he thinks Rodgers is the best quarterback in the NFL currently and citing players such as Michael Jordan as being great players who weren’t necessarily great leaders.

For a quiet, relatively stress-free locker room, Finley always seems to provide some big headlines … even when he doesn’t say a word.

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Follow @MJEversoll

Marques is a Journalism student, serving as the Sports Editor of UW-Green Bay\'s campus newspaper The Fourth Estate and a Packers writer at Jersey Al\'s AllGBP.com. Follow Marques on Twitter @MJEversoll.

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  • QOTSA1

    Baratz’s comments just seem ignorant. “Leaders take the blame and make everyone better. He doesn’t” Really? You don’t think Aaron Rodgers make the players around him better? I think anyone who knows anything about football would disagree with that statement. And I have seen Brady and Manning chew out players for far less glaring mental mistakes than the one Jones made last week.

  • @GBPlitz

    This isn’t a Finley thing. It’s one football fan, who happens to have an affiliation with a player or two, expressing his opinion. He was asked a question and he answered it with his beliefs. I love that Finley refers to it as “family” because that’s what it can be. I called into WIXX 1-on-1 with the boys a few weeks back with James Jones and Finley on and I asked about their contact with their agents (in a roundabout way). It was interesting to hear that Jones hardly ever talkes to his agent while Finley talks to his every day. Hence, why Finley referred to him as family. And, I don’t know about you, but I don’t agree with everything my brother says about football. We agree to disagree, but it’s not life or death. Finally, should a guy with that close of a tie to a somewhat controversal TE watch what he says… perhaps. But, that is because of how we as fans take it, not necessarily because of what he means by it. (sorry for my spelling errors) :)

    • PackersRS

      I agree with the “it’s not a Finley thing”, but this is not just a guy voicing his opinion.

      This is a football agent trying to get publicity. And succeeding at it.

      • @GBPlitz

        I don’t see it. I know full well that it certainly could happen, but I just don’t see it here. He deleted the tweet minutes after posting it. And, he seems like a smart guy when it comes to PR. Why risk causing a rift and then having your clients get upset with you because you want publicity? I guess if this is a regular occurance I could see that being the case with him. I just don’t see the positive result of this from a business perspective. But, I also know that I could be wrong too. Just my opinion.

        • PackersRS

          You don’t see the positive result?

          Did you even know his name before this? It’s right there in the article, and it’s on NFL.COM, on ESPN.COM…

          That’s why I called it publicity. Because it’s free.

          No matter if people disagree with him, fact is his name is out there, he exempted his clients from all responsability by saying it was his opinion only, and for the players that like cocky attitude, and there are tons, his image couldn’t be better.

          • @GBPlitz

            “Cocky attitude” and “smart” are two different things. Yes, having an agent with the balls to do what is right for his client is important and should be well respected by players. But, having an agent that spouts off on twitter about something that could (but won’t) disrupt a locker room is just plain stupid. And, one would hope players would see the difference.

            • PackersRS

              You’re hoping too much.

              I agree with what you’re saying, for me, those comments would immediately exclude that agent from my list, but that way of thinking isn’t shared by a lot of players.

              They see a guy that’s sticking up for them and that’s not afraid to say it.

    • Mojo

      A little confused by what you mean by your comment “how we fans take it, not necessarily because of what he means by it.” Unless you’re talking in general terms, I found no ambiquity in Baratz’s comments.

      • @GBPlitz

        “We fans” refers to some people who took it as he was being a mouthpiece for Finley or trying to get negative publicity. As for “what he meant”, perhaps he was just expressing his own thoughts and nothing more. He clearly doesn’t think Rodgers is a good leader and that is his opinion. I personaly don’t think he meant it to be more than that.

        • Sven

          He is Finley’s employee, as Finley is his paying client. I think he is a mouthpiece for Finley. His knowledge of Rodgers comes from either Finley or the media. And I have seen nothing in the media to support his comments. Maybe if Finley hadn’t been a distraction so many times before, this would be know big deal, but Finley him self has been criticle of Rodgers in the past, and makes lots of comments regarding he and Rodgers chemistry.

  • aaronqb

    It’s not a Finley thing. It’s his agent. The best thing Jermike can do is to distance himself from his agent …. by firing him and finding a new agent.

    • JimR_in_DC

      Finley’s agent is getting him the wrong type of attention. That’s not what Finley needs. Time to shop for a new agent.

  • LMB

    I read this article and thought….this guy needs to butt out. Even though Finley’s name was not directly associated with the comment….it makes people wonder IF there had been some back and forth between client and agent. Finley has at least one issue with holding on to the ball, don’t make this any worse for him.
    He pays this man to keep his best interest up front. He’s not doing his job.

  • Thomas Hobbes

    You can argue that it’s just him being a fan, but he isn’t just a fan. He’s a sports agent and people are going to see him as a sports agent and he should know better. Why even put this out there? I can’t think of any reason why a sports agent would publicly say any quarterback isn’t a leader (especially when Rodgers has the credentials to back it up) If this was a calculated statement I can’t see the benefit of him or his clients.

  • Mr. Bacon

    Agents make like what 5-7% percent? He is probably saying this because Rodgers is not presenting Jermichael to a national audience.

    The 2-3rd contracts are the most lucrative but having a agent smack the ICON of QB’s right now over Twitter, dumb. Aaron doesn’t mind, but you know Mike is grumbling because if it’s not the Fundamentals it’s the Drama.

    Finley should send a message and boot the agent.

    • @GBPlitz

      Agreed. I am getting a kick out of people saying this is a “publicity” stunt for his agent. Wrong kind of publicity in my mind.

  • Nasanehiga

    I am also one who believes that there should be some loyalty to the team. Especially when this agent’s customer is a part of said team. If the agent shows no loyalty to the team, what does that say about the player? I know Finley is distancing himself from the tweet, but it is stil HIS agent.
    Tell you what, leave the agent and find a trainer or coach and your career will be that much better. Then you’ll see the admiration your looking for.
    As for the agent… well, I won’t say it here, but don’t you ever say that negative trash that Arod can’t lead. He has a SB ring. And your client received a SB ring for how Rodgers lead the team. Now what!!!

    • Mr. Bacon

      Football Sports Agents have no such thing sadly.

      In order to become a successful startup agent, you need to gives students money in terms of hoping they sign with you when they enter the draft. Even then agents are not guaranteed to be signed, when a well known agent like Rosenhaus will step in promising big contract dollars.

      Agents are sharks in sports. Even Bus Cook, when he has Favre, Cutler, and now BJ Coleman and Russell Wilson. It’s easy to remember the drama with Favre, but he was also with the messy divorce in Denver with Cutler.

  • Dan

    Finley has been grossly under achieving and now his agent is spouting off? Wow, that camp needs to get thier sh/t together.

    • Teel

      I agree. I thought he was a huge part of why they had discord last year. And 2 games in he is affecting chemistry already, whether directly or indirectly. Plus he is not elite. He and Jones both drop too many passes in crucial situations.

  • Bearmeat

    Finley will shape up into the all pro he can be – or he will ship out at the end of two year. DJ Williams is already positioned to take his spot…

    • Turophile

      Bearmeat. Interesting to see you chose D.J.Williams as Finley’s successor. How about Quarless ? He was rounding out into a quality all-round player when he was injured. Don’t you think hewill make it back fully from injury ?

      • PackersRS

        Quarless injury appears to be serious enough to threaten the quality of his play, if he comes back.

        It’s a real shame, as you said he was making clear strides and was clearly the 2nd best TE in the team and an all around very good TE.

    • CSS

      Defensive coordinators develop game plans around Finley, there’s not another TE on the roster that will generate that level of attention. I’m frustrated by Finley’s lack of top-end play making ability when you consider his overall potential, everybody is. But pretending you can turn the page on Finley with the other roster options and have the same personnel mismatches that Jennings, Jones, Cobb and Nelson currently enjoy is mad.

      I really like the Quarless, Williams, Crabtree and even Taylor options, but they’re nowhere near Finley’s class as an athlete.

      • Teel

        Potential does’nt cut it. And it is chemistry along with talent that wins. The SB year, they had chemistry later in the season and through the SB. With Finley, it does not seeem the chemistry is there.

        • CSS

          The entire Giants defensive game plan in last year’s playoff loss revolved around limiting Finley’s touches. Wax philosophical all you want about potential, he alters game plans. No other TE on the roster can or will do so.

  • FITZCORE1252

    For once I agree with Bill Johnson. Finley should’ve made his own public statement and fired that Douche-nozzle. I’m about sick of all that having Finley on the team entails, with a lot of frustrating plays on the field to show for it.

    Heal up Andrew, stay in your playbook DJ.

    GBP 4 LIFE

  • Wagszilla

    I wonder what interest Finley would draw on the trading block?

    My general feeling would be to trade Finley after this year and try to keep Jennings (although $7.5m isn’t that much money and we have to re-up Rodgers and Matthews before anything else).

    Then we can go with Williams and Quarless. I’m not entirely certain of their ability but their attitude and work ethic is sure a hell of a lot better than Finley. I’m very impressed with both of those guys.

    • CSS

      I’ve seen nothing to question Finley’s work ethic. He shows up in top condition, runs full speed in OTA’s, camp and games and has progressed as a blocker year-over-year.

      Can’t say his attitude is much different than any other WR or TE.

      Just say you hate his brash nature and/or personality, I can’t say I’ve seen anything about his work ethic or attitude worth calling out.

  • Dan

    Agents try to please thier clients, I can’t help but to think there’s some sort of animosity from Finley towards Arod and this has now been verbalized through the agent. Finley is probably blaming Rodgers for not throwing him the ball 25 times a game or some other lame scapegoat reason. I’m glad that Finley is a Packer and I hope he can tap that potential he possesses and be more consistent , but let’s face it, the guy is a tool.

    • CSS

      So, Bishop is a tool too, right? I mean, if we can make a logical jump of Finley’s agent must speak for Finley than surely that agent speaks for his other client in Bishop too?

      Until Finley says it, his agent owns it, not Finley.

  • GKnight

    Finley should fire this guy to show he’s a good teammate. Agents are supposed to be the adults in the player-agent relationship; if there were a QB controversy then *maybe* he could weigh in. But to say anything against not only the undisputed starter, but the friggin’ MVP at that, shows a flagrant egotism or carelessness an agent shouldn’t have. Even hints of perceived disloyalty to the team should not be tolerated. Finley’s been enough of a disappointment in performance and personality that if he doesn’t cut with his agent, GB should trade him. Besides, DJ Williams is ready both on the field and off.

  • Dan

    I don’t think Bishop is a tool at all, I would never compare Bishops attitude with Finleys.

    The agents comments were made during the topic of a QB chewing out a reciever, the writer of this post associated the agent with Finley, a reciever. Finley has complained about not getting the ball enough in the past.Fair or not, I based my comment on these facts.

    • CSS

      Read slower.

  • Teel

    It still surpises me that there are people that follow people on twitter. It has given voice to people who really have no business having a voice. As far as Finley? I thought he should have been traded with Burnett. He, along with Burnett, were causing conflict in the SB year, and he is too inconsistent and drops a lot of critical passes. Jones? The same as Finley,can be great, but too inconsistent. Packers have too many ‘potential’ receivers too hang on to these 2. And Baratz should concentrate on representing his clients, instead of playing on twitter.

  • Dan

    CSS is out of touch

    • CSS

      You use a narrative that suits your predisposition against Finley. Logic fail, try again.

  • Dan

    I agree that Finley’s potential causes problems for other teams, as I have mentioned in my post, I’m glad he is a Packer. But, he needs to take the next step and be more consistent. What happened to that guy who distroyed Arizona’s D in the playoffs?

    And your right, a part of my response was based on a narrative, but most of my response was based on past comments and actions Finley has displayed. Maybe I’m wrong and the agent just doesn’t like Rodgers. Bottom line is we are all packer fans and we all have our own opinions, let’s move on.