GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Aaron Rodgers believes that Green Bay Packers teammates Julius Peppers and Clay Matthews will ultimately be exonerated in the NFL's investigation into last December's allegations by Al-Jazeera America that they used performance-enhancing substances.
But if the two star outside linebackers do miss time this season, the Packers quarterback believes it'll be because the NFL Players Association gave NFL commissioner Roger Goodell too much power during the 2011 collective bargaining agreement negotiations.
Speaking in a radio interview on The Jim Rome Show Wednesday, Rodgers was asked by Rome whether Goodell has too much power in meting out punishment and being able to compel players like Matthews and Peppers to testify in a case Rodgers believes lacks the requisite credible evidence to move forward.
"If that is the case, we have nobody to blame but ourselves," Rodgers replied. "Because we had the opportunity in the CBA to make some legitimate changes to that. I think there was probably too much pressure to come to a deal when we had all the power on our side.
"That was something we should have had negotiated into the CBA because there shouldn't be somebody who is the judge, jury and executioner, as they say."
Matthews and Peppers both have maintained their innocence but have not addressed their options since Monday's development. Speaking Tuesday, Packers general manager Ted Thompson said the team would stand behind the two players but would not say whether Matthews and Peppers will meet with NFL officials on the matter to avoid the suspensions the league has threatened.
While Thompson chose his words carefully Tuesday, Rodgers did so as well on Wednesday -- except the thoughtful two-time NFL MVP chose a more aggressive tack.
Rodgers believes the case should not be moving forward because retired quarterback Peyton Manning has already been cleared and Charlie Sly, who made the allegations about Peppers, Matthews and ex-Packers linebacker Mike Neal on a hidden camera, has recanted.
"I think it's pretty typical of how things have been going with them lately," Rodgers said of the NFL pursuing the investigation. "It sets a bad precedent, I think, that any wild accusation -- accredited [or not], legitimate or illegitimate -- they're going to try and bully these guys into testifying.
"Now these guys, first of all, we stand behind them 100 percent, our guys. I think that it just looks bad for the league, especially after Peyton got cleared and there's been some holes shot [in] it. But I'm confident that those guys have nothing to hide and they'll work something out.
"I just think as far as the league goes, there's been some negative things that have come their way and the way they've responded has maybe not been the best way to handle it."
Asked if he's concerned that Peppers and Matthews, two vital pieces of what the team hopes is a championship-caliber defense, will miss time, Rodgers replied, "There's no way it's going to cost them, I think, in this case."