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10 insights gleaned from Aaron Rodgers Q&A

Jun. 10, 2013
 
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. File/Press-Gazette Media
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. File/Press-Gazette Media

For anyone who missed my Q&A with Aaron Rodgers that appeared in Sundays Green Bay Press-Gazette, heres an abbreviated version in the form of the top-10 insights gleaned from my conversation with the Green Bay Packers quarterback (in no particular order of importance):

1. He considers playing in Green Bay a great fit and compares it to Chico, Calif., where he grew up. Its a similar type of area, where its blue collar," said Rodgers. "Chico is very agricultural. You have a lot of farmers and blue-collar workers. Then you have the college town atmosphere, so you have some of that young energy. I think its a similar pace of life and its just home for me.

2. In the wake of signing his five-year, $110 million contract extension, he said money and fame cant help but change him. I think it has to, said Rodgers. I think you have to be aware of how a contract like this changes the way youre looked at both on the team and outside the building.

3. Dealing with the mental part of pro football is as difficult, if not more so, than the physical part. Its a grind physically during the season every week, dealing with the hits and the physical pain that goes with playing in this game, said Rodgers. But mentally its probably more taxing, so you need that ability to find that escape.

4. He has every intention of playing out his newly signed contract that goes for seven more seasons, and he wouldnt rule out playing beyond that. I think we can legitimately see this all the way through seven years. Ive always said as long as I can be (a) 100 percent offseason contributor and be here for the OTAs and want to be here and continue to want to put in the time in the offseason, then Im going to be playing.

5. He goes out of his way to make younger players feel welcome, due in part to the way he was treated in his younger days in the NFL. Ive always felt like making those guys feel welcome is important, said Rodgers. I had a bunch of guys who did that for me when I was a young player: Javon Walker, Walt Williams, Nail Diggs, Grey Ruegamer. Those were guys who really made me feel real welcome when I was a rookie. They picked on me at times, which was fun but I remember how they treated me and I try and do the same to these guys.

6. He sees the Packers team as close-knit. A lot more guys have been sticking around here on the weekends and been getting together, Rodgers said. Its a fun team. We spend a lot of time together.

7. His relationship with coach Mike McCarthy is solid. I think we have a lot of respect for each other, said Rodgers. Were good friends off the field.

8. Despite losing some seasoned veterans from last season, he likes the hunger brought in by the younger players. They dont have the experience but they have the strong desire to be great and that hunger kind of penetrates the team, said Rodgers. Youve seen that this spring. Theres a different energy about this team. Weve gone from kind of a middle-aged to veteran feel at times last year to now I feel like were kind of a younger team again. That brings naturally an energy that kind of permeates throughout the entire ball club.

9. As long as he is playing, he will never be satisfied: Im the kind of guy that lays in bed at night after a win when I had a 100-plus quarterback rating and a bunch of touchdowns and thinks about the ones that I missed or the ones I was a little bit off where I could have given the guy a better chance of getting more yards after the catch. Never satisfied, Im always looking for ways to improve. Thankfully, Ive got a quarterback coach, an offensive coordinator and head coach who feel the same way. They push me. I ask them to and they do. They push be to be better in a bunch of different areas. Sometimes its frustrating because expectations go so high but I like to challenge myself."

10. He has no reservations whatsoever about bringing Brett Favre back into the Packers family, and his appearance with Favre at the NFL honors TV show in February was a way of showing that. I looked at the NFL honors was a way to show the team and our fans that Im on board, said Rodgers. I have zero insecurities about this. Im very confident in what weve been able to accomplish. Im very respectful of what (Favre) and his teammates were able to accomplish as well. So I think it would be great for the organization, for our fans, for the healing process to come together, especially before he goes into Canton which is going to be coming up here in a couple years.

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