Aaron Rodgers has been in the NFL for a long time with the Green Bay Packers. This has led to him playing against a ton of different linebackers throughout the years, which has also helped him develop a specific opinion about all of the league’s top defensive players. However, Rodgers recently said something controversial that didn’t sit too well with a linebacker that he will soon face. This could potentially lead to a tough day for Rodgers, too, as that linebacker is Indianapolis Colts star, Darius Leonard.
Aaron Rodgers called Fred Warner the best linebacker in the NFL
After the Green Bay Packers defeated the San Francisco 49ers earlier this month, Rodgers had a nice message for 49ers linebacker Fred Warner.
“Ain’t nobody better,” Rodgers said to Warner in a video posted on the 49ers’ Twitter, according to USA Today’s Niners Wire. “There really isn’t. You’re the best. No doubt. And everybody knows it. The field don’t lie, you should be an All-Pro.”
Rodgers certainly didn’t mean this as a slight toward anyone. Warner was mic’d up for the game, according to Niners Wire. It’s hard to even know if Rodgers knew that. So, maybe he wasn’t even prepared for his comments to come out.
Whether Rodgers meant for them to come out or not, though, Warner does certainly have a case for the “best linebacker in the NFL” claim.
Fred Warner is a great linebacker for the San Francisco 49ers
The San Francisco 49ers selected Warner in the third round of the 2018 NFL draft out of BYU. He has since become a star.
During the 2018 season, Warner recorded 124 total tackles and forced one fumble. He then had an even better season in 2019, as he had 118 total tackles, three sacks, three forced fumbles, and one interception. Warner was also big during the 49ers’ run to the Super Bowl. He had 20 total tackles in those three playoff games and one interception.
Warner has continued to play well this season for the 49ers. He has 79 total tackles through 10 games to go with two interceptions.
Darius Leonard also has a good case for the ‘best linebacker’ claim
If anyone has something to say about Rodgers’ claims about Warner, it’s certainly Indianapolis Colts linebacker, Darius Leonard.
After going to the Colts in the second round of the 2018 NFL draft, Leonard led the NFL with 163 total tackles and 111 solo tackles in 2018. He also had seven sacks, two interceptions, and four forced fumbles. This helped him become a First-Team All-Pro, something Warner hasn’t earned.
Then in 2019, Leonard continued to dominate. He racked up 121 total tackles, five sacks, and two forced fumbles in 13 games. He also led all linebackers with five interceptions. Leonard ultimately earned a Pro Bowl selection for his play in 2019, something else Warner hasn’t earned.
Leonard has, of course, been great this season as well. In seven games for the Colts, Leonard has 60 total tackles and one sack.
When looking at Leonard’s accomplishments, he certainly has a reason to feel slighted by Rodgers. It appears that he does, in fact, feel that way too.
Darius Leonard has some extra motivation
The Indianapolis Colts and Green Bay Packers play each other in Week 11 of the 2020 NFL season. Leonard wants to show Rodgers that he is actually the NFL’s best linebacker, too.
“I seen it as soon as he said it,” Leonard said, according to ESPN. “You hear things like that and it gives you extra motivation going to play. [Rodgers has] been in the league for a long time. For him to say that about Fred Warner, they play sometimes twice a year, so my first time I want to leave a mark. Hopefully change his mind on what he said about that.”
Leonard, of course, still had high praise for Rodgers as a QB, though.
“Aaron Rodgers is a great quarterback,” Leonard said, according to ESPN. “That’s a bucket list check. Once you’re in the league, you want to play against the best, and he’s one of the best to do it. I’m pumped for it. It’s definitely challenging. They have some great skill guys.”
Aaron Rodgers was already scheduled to face one of the NFL’s top defenses in the Colts’ D. Now, he has potentially made it even harder on himself by giving Darius Leonard extra motivation. This should be a fun matchup to watch.
Stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference