Mike Vandermause column: Rodgers fine holding the clipboard, again

1:28 AM, Mar. 10, 2007  |  Comments
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Aaron Rodgers arrived in Green Bay on Thursday night from sunny California and was greeted by more than a foot of snow on the ground and a temperature drop of about 50 degrees.

Rodgers wasn't complaining. Not about the Wisconsin weather. Not about an offseason in which he spent six weeks on crutches recovering from a broken left foot. And not about the prospect of having to spend his third NFL season on the bench playing second fiddle to Brett Favre.

"People are going to talk about the potential negatives," said Rodgers, who is among several current and former players featured at Packers Fan Fest this weekend at the Lambeau Field Atrium. "I don't really see any negatives."

Rodgers refuses to dwell on his supposed misfortune. He backs up Favre, the most durable quarterback in NFL history who announced last month he would return for a 17th season. That leaves Rodgers, the Packers' first-round draft choice in 2005, holding the proverbial clipboard for at least another year.

"I've got a lot of positive things coming up this season," Rodgers said. "It's just another year to grow as a player and person in this league."

Rodgers said he has no second thoughts about being drafted by the Packers. "I'm happy where I'm at," he said. "I love the city. I met a lot of great people out here. We have a first-class organization, and I'd love to play my entire career here."

Rodgers hopes to be at or near 100 percent when the Packers' offseason workout program begins March 19, exactly four months after the injury ended his season.

Rodgers is no stranger to rehabilitation. He had surgery in January 2004 to repair an anterior cruciate knee ligament but returned in time for his final season at California.

"I always seem to come back stronger, more athletic and just have more of a drive off of these injuries," Rodgers said, "just because you have to work that much harder when your sport is taken away from you. You can either feel sorry for yourself or get better."

As for the recent rumors about the Packers offering Rodgers to the Oakland Raiders for Randy Moss, he said: "I don't pay any attention to that stuff, but it's hard for my friends and extended family not to. So, I got plenty of calls and text messages about that stuff."

Rodgers said no one from the Packers called to refute the rumors. "I didn't really need that," he said. "I figured if I was going to get traded - the way our organization is, we're a first-class organization - I knew I'd be the first one to know. So, when I hear stuff like this, I didn't really think too much of it. A lot of my friends were potentially excited about me coming to California, but I said, 'Don't count on it.'"

Packers General Manager Ted Thompson did his best to dispel any notion of an impending trade. When asked at Fan Fest if Rodgers was the team's quarterback of the future, Thompson replied without hesitation: "Yes."

Rodgers wants to improve and plans to continue learning from Favre. "There's a lot of things I can still pick up from Brett," he said.

The best thing Favre taught him was to never lose his childlike passion for the game. "That's not something he told me, it's just something I've seen," Rodgers said. "The reason he keeps coming back in my opinion is because he loves the game so much."

Rodgers does too, and someday he wants to show it on the field.

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If you've ever answered "Who has the ball?" with "It's halftime," you might recognize The Airhead. Check out the characters in our cartoon gallery of oddball fans.

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