Aaron Rodgers still remembers watching receiver James Jones break into the open field during a game against the Atlanta Falcons three years ago.
Standing on the Georgia Dome turf, Rodgers knew he had a touchdown. Jones raced 70 yards to give the Packers a lead they never surrendered.
Instantly, Rodgers understood the big picture.
Entering the game, the quarterback knew he was sitting on 99 career touchdowns. So, as Rodgers watched Jones hurl the football into the stands after scoring, his dismay was understandable.
"I was like, 'Oh, that's 100. I want to hold onto this one. This would be a good keeper,'" Rodgers said on his weekly ESPN Milwaukee radio show Tuesday afternoon. "You know, 100 touchdowns, that's a good achievement there. Then he threw it into the stands, and I was just laughing at myself, 'That's just perfect.'"
A search in the stands never recovered the football. Rodgers had to wait until his 200th touchdown pass before he could add to his trophy case. It came Thursday night against the Minnesota Vikings on a first-half pass to rookie receiver Davante Adams.
Only problem: it was Adams' first career touchdown catch. Rodgers didn't get to keep that football either.
"His first touchdown, I'm not going to take his ball," Rodgers said after the game. "Hopefully I can get to 300 and throw it to a guy who's caught a touchdown before so I can keep that one."
Fortunately for Rodgers, the quarterback was able to keep the football after his first career touchdown during a 2007 game against the Dallas Cowboys. Rodgers remembers that play well, too. The Cowboys played Cover 4 in a dime package, and Rodgers hit receiver Greg Jennings for the 11-yard score.
Rodgers said he's kept a few other game balls over the years, but he's missing the most important one.
"I have no idea what happened to the Super Bowl ball," Rodgers said. "Because I took a knee, and then somebody came and grabbed it out of my hands. ... All I know is somebody came to grab my helmet, and I gave it to that person, and he gave me a hat. Then somebody grabbed the football at some point.
"The rest is kind of a whirlwind."
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