GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Tom Clements, one of the coaches Aaron Rodgers has long credited for his development during his early days in the NFL, is coming out of retirement to return to the Green Bay Packers as quarterbacks coach.
Clements verbally accepted the job on Thursday, a source told ESPN. The move became official Friday.
While there's the obvious connection to Rodgers, a source said Clements' arrival doesn't guarantee that the reigning NFL MVP will return to the Packers, but rather is another move that the Packers hope will convince Rodgers to come back.
Clements was with the Packers from 2006 to 2016. He was most recently the Arizona Cardinals' quarterbacks coach but retired following the 2020 season. He did not coach between the end of his time with the Packers and joining the Cardinals in 2019 and also did not coach this past season.
The 68-year-old served as one of Rodgers' first position coaches in the NFL. He came to Green Bay in Rodgers' second season, when Mike McCarthy was hired as coach. Clements coached the position from 2006 to '11, presiding over Rodgers' Super Bowl season of 2010 and first MVP season of 2011. He became offensive coordinator in 2012. When McCarthy gave up playcalling in 2015, he turned that job over to Clements and named him associate head coach. However, McCarthy took playcalling duties back later that season. Clements remained on the staff for one more season.
Even though it has been more than five years since he worked with Clements, Rodgers still regularly brings Clements up when he talks about the keys to playing the position. It happened most recently in January during the week leading up to the Packers' playoff game against the San Francisco 49ers.
"I'm thankful, deeply thankful, to guys like Joe Philbin and Tom Clements and Alex Van Pelt, who've helped me understand that facet of leadership and being a quarterback," Rodgers said last month. He also referenced Clements late in the regular season when talking about a ball he threw to Davante Adams early in the Week 17 game against the Vikings.
"I learned from Tom Clements, we always had three mortal sins [as] the quarterback: Don't throw late down the middle, don't make any blind throws and no premeditated decisions," Rodgers said. "And so with all apologies to Tom and his excellent training over the years, I kind of had a premeditated decision to throw it to Davante on that play."
The news of the Packers' interest in Clements was first reported by the Pro Football Network before an agreement had been reached.
Clements will replace Luke Getsy, who was hired as the Chicago Bears' offensive coordinator last month.
Clements is the second coach hired this offseason with ties to Rodgers. Last week, they hired one of Rodgers' former college teammates at Cal, Byron Storer, as their assistant special teams coach. But Storer's ties are more to new special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia than Rodgers. Storer served in the same capacity under Bisaccia the past four seasons with the Raiders.
As of Thursday, Rodgers had not informed the Packers about his plans for the 2022 season -- whether to return to Green Bay, request a trade or retire -- a source said.
When asked last week what he still had to weigh before making a decision, Rodgers said: "It just comes down to kind of weighing where I'm at mentally and understanding what the commitment is and kind of making a commitment and everybody moving forward."
Also, OLB coach Mike Smith is leaving the Packers to pursue other opportunities, a source said. This did not come out of the blue and has been in discussion for a while, per the source. The team agreed to let him do that and will have a new OLB coach.
The Packers hired Jason Rebrovich to replace Smith. Rebrovich was with the Jaguars from 2017-20, most recently as defensive line coach where he helped develop Josh Allen. Before that he on the Bills staff from 2013-16 in various defensive capacities including outside linebackers coach and defensive line coach.