Tuesday, September 9, 2008

What playing JC ball taught Aaron Rodgers

Had a chance to watch much of Aaron Rodgers' debut as the starting QB for the Packers last night against Minnesota and was happy for him that he and his team had success after such a tumultuous offseason, training camp, and preseason.

Despite all that's gone on, Rodgers has pretty much remained the same guy he's always been.

As he told the USA Today, "My dad said it, Trent Dilfer said it, my brother said it. 'Just be yourself. Don't change.' Guys would read right through it. It would be phony to try to be somebody I'm not. I think my personality is going to work for this team."

The same article discussed how Rodgers had a standing mid-week cookout for the team during the offseason. Fully catered. "No strings attached." Between 20-50 guys would show up each week.

Colleges didn't give Rodgers much of a look when he came out of high school, so he played junior college ball for the Butte College Roadrunners in Oroville, Calif., helping the team to a 10-1 record in 2002.

But his on-field experience paled in comparison to what he learned about himself:

"I was exposed to a ton of guys with different backgrounds and cultures. Guys from Florida, Texas and Canada. Guys at 25 and 26 years old, still trying to make it. My center was 25. Our free safety, the team leader, was 22 and had been to jail. To be, at a young age, able to get guys to play with you and raise their game, that was a huge lesson. Probably the best year of football for me, as far as personal development. I learned a lot about myself as a leader."