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Aaron Rodgers had a hat to warm his head – but no gloves – as he stepped out of the Westin Hotel in Chicago for a Saturday night dinner in 2008.

It was the eve before the Green Bay Packers played their annual game at Soldier Field, his first road start against the rival Chicago Bears. It was only 20 feet from front door to the vehicle. On that late December night – three days before Christmas – Rodgers said it was the coldest he's ever felt.

"It was brutal," Rodgers said Tuesday on his weekly ESPN Milwaukee radio show. "It was like, minus-40 (degrees). The next day, it was like minus-25, and it was still miserable. I think we're all excited that it's not a late, late game in Chicago. It's always difficult playing there when it's really, really cold."

Whenever the NFL schedule comes out each offseason, Rodgers has said one of the first things he does is check to see when the Packers will travel to Chicago.

Yes, in Green Bay, the tundra is frozen. There's something about being directly on Lake Michigan, with no land to shield from the raw wind chill, that can make Soldier Field unbearable.

Rodgers doesn't mind getting the annual trip to Chicago out of the way before September ends and the bitter cold begins. It's only the third time in the past decade the Packers have traveled to Chicago in the season's opening month. The other two games were in 2010 and 2011. Green Bay won in Chicago in 2011, but lost in 2010.

Sure beats a late December trip.

"I was very happy this year," Rodgers said. "Very happy."

-- rwood@gannett.com and follow him on Twitter @ByRyanWood

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