Jets QB Aaron Rodgers: Sean Payton’s comments on Nathaniel Hackett-era Broncos ‘way out of line’

By Eric Edholm, Lead Draft Writer

Aaron Rodgers wasn’t about to let the Sean Payton controversy just die off without getting a word or two in on the matter.

Days after Payton took a shot at former Broncos head coach Nathaniel Hackett, who is now the Jets’ offensive coordinator, Rodgers came to Hackett’s defense by lashing out at Payton’s comments.

“Yeah, I love Nathaniel Hackett, and those comments were very surprising, for a coach to do that to another coach,” Rodgers told Peter Schrager on Back Together Weekend on NFL+.

Rodgers added: “I thought it was way out of line, inappropriate, and I think he needs to keep my coach’s name out of his mouth.”

Rodgers and Hackett previously worked together from 2019 to 2021 in Green Bay, and Rodgers appears to have genuine love for the man who will be in his ear all season in New York.

“My love for Hack goes deep, you know, we had some great years together in Green Bay,” Rodgers said. “(We) kept in touch, love him and his family, he’s an incredible family man and an incredible dad. And on the field, he’s arguably my favorite coach I’ve ever had in the NFL. Just his approach to it — he makes it fun, how he cares about the guys, just how he goes about his business with respect, with leadership, with honesty, with integrity.”

Rodgers clearly felt like Payton’s comments didn’t reflect on the coach he knows well. He also suggested that Payton’s comments were a way of providing an excuse in case the Broncos can’t improve this season.

“It made me feel bad that someone (Payton) who’s accomplished a lot in the league is that insecure that they have to take another man down to set themselves up for some sort of easy fall if it doesn’t go well for that team this year,” Rodgers said.

Payton had apologized for his remarkably candid words which essentially blamed Hackett and his coaching staff for the 2022 Broncos’ failures, saying that he made a “mistake” in being so direct.

“Listen, I had one of those moments where I still had my FOX hat on and not my coaching hat on,” Payton said Friday.

The Jets and Broncos are set to meet in Week 5 this season in Denver. It might have been a matchup some people overlooked when the schedule was released, but it’s must-see TV now.

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