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All you wanted about Aaron Rodgers...SF Chronicle article.

Discussion in 'Packer Fan Forum' started by Cal2GreenBay, Mar 10, 2008.

  1. Cal2GreenBay

    Cal2GreenBay Cheesehead

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    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/artic...G81AH9PK1.DTL&hw=Aaron Rodgers&sn=001&sc=1000

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    Here's all you guys wanted to know about him.
    Also he was a minor league prospect as a pitcher. That'll give you indication about his arm. Again..you guys will be pleased.


    Chico -- In Aaron Rodgers' hometown, even his most mundane habits stir public fascination. One day earlier this month, the small chalkboard inside The Burger Hut on Nord Avenue featured this "question of the day": What shirt does Aaron Rodgers wear under his Cal uniform? One patron already had scrawled the answer (a Joe Montana T-shirt) and earned a free large soda.

    Rodgers is so big these days, his older brother, Luke, cannot walk across Chico State's campus without fielding questions about Aaron. Students in Cal garb roam the hallways of his alma mater, Pleasant Valley High, muttering about the blasphemous BCS. Visitors routinely stop by Ed Rodgers' chiropractic office to chat about his football-flinging son. And Darla Rodgers, Aaron's mom, still cannot quite digest the time one excitable Cal fan requested her autograph at an event in Berkeley.

    To think, Rodgers sat on the couch of his parents' home less than three years ago, a picture of frustration, asking Butte College coach Craig Rigsbee to explain why no Division I schools wanted him.

    Now, as the Bears prepare for Thursday's Holiday Bowl against Texas Tech, Rodgers sits on the brink of professional fortune, wondering only which NFL team will call his name should he enter the draft in April. He's the quarterback who guided Cal to its best regular season in more than 50 years, the quarterback who completed 23 consecutive passes against USC, the quarterback with the cool manner, mischievous smile and relentlessly accurate right arm.

    But this rapid rise to prominence startles only those who didn't see 3- year-old Aaron Rodgers attentively watch 49ers games on television. At 5, he read aloud so well and so carefully organized football games at recess -- and always played quarterback -- that his kindergarten teacher became concerned he was dominating the class.

    By high school, as teenage parties shifted into gear, Rodgers often excused himself, knowing he had a 6 a.m. workout the next day. He and Luke talked about becoming two-sport stars, a la Bo Jackson and Deion Sanders, and lofty ambitions required sacrifice.

    "That's why when he goes into the draft, it will be a dream come true for him," Luke said. "I don't think it's set in yet. But in his mind, he's always thought it would happen. It wasn't so much a dream as it was his plan."

    It's typical to hatch grand plans as a sports-crazed kid, but Rodgers merged athletic ability and mental acuity at an early age. Ed Rodgers has film of Aaron, in second grade, dribbling a basketball with either hand and throwing no-look passes.

    "His concept of games was always far ahead of others," Ed said.

    Joey Kaempf, one of Aaron's friends when the Rodgers family lived outside Portland in the mid-1990s, recalled him as small, skilled and shrewd. He would lull Little League foes into complacency, throwing softly in warm-ups and offering an inviting image of a vulnerable little pitcher.

    Then, when the game began, he unleashed fastball after howling fastball.

    All along, there was never any doubt about Rodgers' competitiveness. He is the second of three boys, 19 months younger than Luke and five years older than Jordan. So Aaron's childhood inevitably became an endless series of personal duels with his big brother.

    They competed for the seat in the car, the biggest donut and every basket. They played "pass patterns" with their dad in the street, Ed throwing passes and Aaron and Luke matching up as wide receiver and defensive back. Their tussles became so fierce, Ed occasionally had to end the games and send the boys inside.

    But their basketball games linger most vividly, epic clashes stretching past sunset. Aaron, now 21, recalls in exquisite detail the first time he blocked Luke's shot. Luke, 22, said he doesn't remember the block at all, only his parade of wins.

    "I wanted to beat him so bad," Aaron said. "And if he beat me, I'd make him stay out there and play game after game."

    Ed Rodgers, an offensive lineman at Chico State in the 1970s and later in semi-pro leagues, prohibited his sons from playing football until high school. He worried about injury and didn't want them to burn out on the sport.

    By eighth grade, Aaron was so restless to play that he persuaded his father to lift the ban one year early. Then Rodgers sat down for his interview with Champion Christian School and, when asked what he could contribute to the school, matter-of-factly replied, "I'm going to make your sports programs better."

    One year later, Rodgers showed up at Pleasant Valley High as a scrawny freshman, not more than about 5-foot-8 and 135 pounds. One friend called him "Hurley," after the slight point guard who played for Duke and the Sacramento Kings.

    But his coaches always figured Rodgers would grow, given his broad- shouldered father, tall brother (Luke now stands 6-4 1/2) and those enormous feet. Even as a wispy ninth grader, Rodgers wore size-14 shoes. Some friends called him "Feet."

    Rodgers reached 6-1, 185 as a senior, but that still was not big enough for most Division I programs. He fancied himself a prime prospect after throwing for more than 2,000 yards in each of his two seasons as Pleasant Valley's starter, but the offers never came. San Diego State showed the most interest, until its head coach, Ted Tollner, got fired.

    Ed Rodgers blamed the lack of interest partly on Chico's remote location; one college assistant told him major colleges seldom recruit north of Sacramento. Aaron's size also was a factor, as was, perhaps, his high school's inexperience with the recruiting process.

    "I just don't think the high school did a very good job (promoting Aaron), " Ed Rodgers said. "Maybe they just didn't know how to do that -- it's not like they send three or four kids to Division I every year."

    Said Pleasant Valley coach Sterling Jackson: "You tell people you're an hour and a half north of Sacramento and they think you're in Oregon. ... I don't know what we could have done differently, except maybe just flood more tapes on people's desks."

    Rodgers actually toyed with the idea of quitting football in December 2001. Soon thereafter, he widened his field of vision and contemplated junior college, even though he had the grades to attend a four-year school. That brought Rigsbee, the affable coach of nearby Butte, to the Rodgers house.

    Rigsbee did more than candidly answer Ed and Darla Rodgers' questions. He also revitalized Aaron, convincing him he could still become a Division I quarterback.

    "I was kind of down and out about the whole thing, but he gave me my dreams back," Rodgers said.

    Rigsbee's reward was a 10-1 record and No. 2 national ranking for Butte in 2002, orchestrated by a quarterback with Montana-like poise. Rigsbee recalled one time he sent in a mismatched play and formation. As he animatedly tried to summon one player back to the sideline to correct the call, Rodgers looked over and held up his hand as if to say, "Coach, relax, I know what you want.''

    This composure served Rodgers well on the day Cal coach Jeff Tedford came to observe Butte's practice. Tedford had noticed Rodgers while watching video of teammate Garrett Cross, now Cal's tight end. Rodgers said he never became nervous -- even though Tedford "looked about 8 feet tall" -- as he fired passes downfield.

    Tedford, assured Rodgers was big enough and impressed by the way Butte players responded to him, called on his way back to Berkeley to offer Rodgers a scholarship.

    That one phone call launched this wild ride. Barely more than two years later, the kid unwanted by Division I schools finds himself coveted by the NFL and practically worshiped by students at previously football-averse Cal.

    It's altogether satisfying for Rodgers, who saw the other end of the economic spectrum when he twice visited Mexico with a Chico-area youth group in high school, to help build houses for underprivileged families. His family also endured some rough spots, especially when Ed Rodgers shifted careers and attended chiropractic college in the mid-90s.

    Now the Rodgers clan is doing fine and Aaron tackles The Decision, whether to chase pro riches now or wait another year.

    "He's seen our family go from zero to comfortable, so I think he can appreciate that the money's not always there," Luke Rodgers said. "He knows what that feels like. To have the money and security, how could you not want that?"

    Rodgers, a junior, weighs NFL wealth against a college football experience he never expected in Berkeley. Tedford launched Cal's renaissance in 2002, but the Bears soared into another realm when Rodgers became their starting quarterback in the fifth game last season. Cal is 17-4 since then, and Rodgers takes a 27-5 mark as a college starter into the Holiday Bowl, counting his season at Butte.

    His role in these wins extends beyond precise passes. Cal guard Jonathan Giesel spoke of Rodgers' calm and confident facial expressions anytime the Bears are in a difficult situation. That look, Giesel said, fills the huddle with faith.

    "Because he's so mature and so on top of things, I had to remind myself midway through his first year (2003) that he was only 19 years old," Tedford said. "It's really easy to treat him like he's a fifth-year senior."

    Rodgers also finds ways to squeeze enjoyment out of football. He and Cal linebacker Joe Maningo chatter endlessly throughout Tedford's otherwise serious practices, much as Rodgers and Stanford linebacker David Bergeron traded trash talk during this year's Big Game.

    That game ended with a memorable scene: Rodgers holding a rose (nice thought, anyway) while riding atop a sea of giddy students who had flocked onto the field at Memorial Stadium.

    "That was my dream of college football growing up," Rodgers said of the postgame mosh pit. "That was a great college football atmosphere, and I really hadn't felt that in Berkeley until they rushed the field that day."

    At the same time, the scene neatly captured Rodgers' dilemma. The students carrying Rodgers after the Big Game serenaded him with chants of "One more year! One more year!"

    He insisted he will make his decision after Cal's bowl game, but all signs point to him turning pro. Scouts consider this a thin draft class, especially at quarterback; four of Cal's top wide receivers (Geoff McArthur, Jonathan Makonnen, Chase Lyman and Burl Toler) are seniors, leaving Rodgers with a raw group if he returns; and first-round quarterbacks command serious money, from top '04 pick Eli Manning's $20 million signing bonus to the $11 million Ben Roethlisberger collected at No. 11.

    Two NFL scouts contacted by The Chronicle said Rodgers would be among the top five overall choices. Various online mock drafts project him going anywhere from No. 1 overall -- possibly to his beloved 49ers -- to No. 7.

    Rodgers appreciated the fans' exhortations to stay in school, though they will not sway him.

    "The fans wouldn't have a big effect -- I already know how they feel," he said. "I'll make the decision that's best for my future, based on where I would go in the draft, what Coach Tedford thinks and the opinions of others close to me."

    Said Ed Rodgers: "He puts so much thought into everything that I have a lot of confidence in his decision. I know it won't be based on chance. He's not shallow, he's definitely a deep thinker."

    Even if he burst onto the scene suddenly, rising from the almond orchards of Chico, this is a moment Aaron Rodgers has envisioned all his life.
    Mr. Rodgers

    Birthdate: Dec. 2, 1983

    Position: Quarterback

    Height: 6-foot-2

    Weight: 220 pounds

    Hometown: Chico

    High school: Pleasant Valley

    Junior college: Butte

    Family: Parents Ed and Darla, brothers Luke and Jordan

    Just win, baby: Cal is 17-4 when Rodgers starts

    Mr. Efficiency: Completion percentage of 67.5 this season

    Good ratio: 42 touchdown passes and 12 interceptions in two seasons with Bears

    Strong arm: Rodgers attracted interest from some baseball scouts when he pitched as a Pleasant Valley senior in 2002

    Chico connection: If the 49ers draft Rodgers, he would not become the first player from Chico to wear a San Francisco uniform; so did RB George Maderos (1955-56), DE Jeff Stover (1982-88) and WR Mike Sherrard (1989-92)
     
  2. PackOne

    PackOne Cheesehead

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    Re: All you wanted about Aaron Rodgers...SF Chronicle articl

    Nice.
     
  3. Zombieslayer

    Zombieslayer Cheesehead

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    Thanks Cal. I know PVHS. No, didn't go there, but I've lived in Chico 3 times in my life. Once to get my Bachelors, once in Grad School, and once to purchase the home that will eventually be our retirement home. :)

    I love Chico. Great town.
     
  4. rabidgopher04

    rabidgopher04 Cheesehead

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    He played for the Vikings?! YUCK! :wink:
     
  5. Greg C.

    Greg C. Cheesehead

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    I tried to pick him out in that picture of the basketball team, and I wasn't even close. He was the shrimpiest kid on the team! Thanks for the article.
     
  6. retiredgrampa

    retiredgrampa Cheesehead

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    Re: All you wanted about Aaron Rodgers...SF Chronicle articl

    Thanks for the article, Cal2. I'm always interested in anything Packer. I don't see how we can question his intelligence and general cool attitude. It's going to be a pleasure watching him become a good NFL QB.
     
  7. BryanAschenbrenner

    BryanAschenbrenner Cheesehead

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    Not getting a whole lot of big college attention sounds a lot like this other passable quarterback I've heard of. I think he just retired or something?
     
  8. rabidgopher04

    rabidgopher04 Cheesehead

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    Re: All you wanted about Aaron Rodgers...SF Chronicle articl

    The names are on the picture so it shouldn't have been that hard! lol :lol:
     
  9. Cal2GreenBay

    Cal2GreenBay Cheesehead

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    Re: All you wanted about Aaron Rodgers...SF Chronicle articl

    No problem.

    Actually..it's funny how perspective is.
    I actually posted this 3 years ago..and I got got yelled at by all the Favre fans in here.

    Now I post it and everyone likes it =)

    Funny how things are sometimes..
     
  10. cheesey

    cheesey Cheesehead

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    I love Chico too........although Groucho and Harpo were even better! :lol:
     
  11. eap33

    eap33 Cheesehead

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    Chico rocks... can't go wrong with $0.50 Sierra Nevadas :wink:
     
  12. BangTheDrum

    BangTheDrum Cheesehead

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    That was a good read, A Rod is the man
     
  13. Hammer

    Hammer Cheesehead

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    I'm with ya there, dude. I used to drive through Chico all the time on my way to the Trinity Alps and Caribou wilderness. I also had a friend that went to school there. Stopped by the brewery for the first time in the mid 80s. No. Cal. rocks!!
     
  14. favre2driver

    favre2driver Cheesehead

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    good read and find. The first picture is unbelievable!
     
  15. Chevelle2

    Chevelle2 Cheesehead

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    I swear to God this guy is the next Joe Montana
     
  16. IronMan

    IronMan Cheesehead

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  17. Zombieslayer

    Zombieslayer Cheesehead

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    Re: All you wanted about Aaron Rodgers...SF Chronicle articl

    They're a dollar now.

    One thing I don't understand. $1 for a Sierra Nevada and some dude comes in and gets a Coors Lite. I guess some folks are born without taste buds or something.
     
  18. FrankRizzo

    FrankRizzo Cheesehead

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  19. IluvGB

    IluvGB I <3 Packers!!!!

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    Such a nice article about such a great guy/ QB/ Team player!!!! Love the part about him and Jennings...
    "Its going to be you and me sometime in the future"

    We are in the future!!! LOVE IT! :heart:

    great play on content in the beginning writer! SB here we come!!!!! :clapping:
     

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