Walkthrough: Rodgers' memorable offseason
Weston Hodkiewicz provides an inside look at the Green Bay Packers in his Walkthrough blog.
Aaron Rodgers had quite the offseason.
The Green Bay Packers quarterback broke away from training for his 11th NFL season to appear at the Oscars with girlfriend Olivia Munn in February, played golf with President Barack Obama earlier this month and recently attended one of Kobe Bryant’s final NBA games with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Rodgers played in a foursome at The Courses at Andrews Air Force Base with Obama, ESPN personality Tony Kornheiser and astronaut Mark Kelly on April 2. Rodgers and Kelly became fast friends after their appearance together on an episode of “Celebrity Jeopardy!” last year.
“(Kelly) and I have been friends for a while now and he’s been working on it,” Rodgers said during the start of the offseason program Monday. “He kind of threw the idea around when he came on a visit last year, and so, it took a few months, but it came together.”
Rodgers is an avid golfer who has been a frequent participant in the PGA Tour's AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. While he wouldn’t go into detail about how he fared against the president, Rodgers said the four had a good time together.
Did he feel any extra pressure playing with the commander-in-chief?
“You want to play well,” Rodgers said. “You definitely want to play well.”
Rodgers, already notorious for photobombing the Packers’ weekly team captains’ photo, kept up his shenanigans at the Oscars where he was caught videobombing rapper/actor Common during a red-carpet interview.
Once the show began, he and Munn also got camera time after buying Girl Scout cookies as part of host Chris Rock’s act. He was also pleased to see one of his favorite films, “MadMax: Fury Road” win six Academy Awards.
“It’s fun to be around such talented people, to see these people in their environment and be recognized for the work they do,” Rodgers said. “It’s fun when you find out they’re sports fans and you can talk a little ball with them.”
Now back in Green Bay, Rodgers said he doesn’t anticipate having any restrictions during the offseason program after team doctor, Patrick McKenzie, performed what has been described as a “minor scope” on his knee shortly after the season to clean up a preexisting injury.
“I’m feeling great,” Rodgers said. “Dr. McKenzie did a great job with my surgery, worked hard with the rehab in the offseason and I’m feeling really good right now.”
-Less than two weeks away from the NFL draft, Rodgers and defensive lineman Mike Daniels each were asked about their own experiences leading up to the big day.
Daniels, a fourth-round pick in 2012, was seen as a rotational rusher coming out of Iowa largely because he was undersized (6-foot-½, 291) and not considered durable or stout against the run. It didn’t help Daniels had to sit out most of the drills at the scouting combine due to shoulder surgery.
Daniels has yet to miss an NFL game due to injury in his first four seasons, registering 125 tackles and 18 sacks in 62 games (33 starts).
“My draft experience, watching a lot of offensive linemen, who I know I’m going to hit them in the mouth, get drafted ahead of me kind of made me pretty upset,” Daniels said. “Watching a lot of defensive linemen that I know aren’t going to go and throw that punch like I am get drafted ahead of me got me a little upset.
“I was short, couldn’t play the run and all that other foolishness that the experts said — I guess they were wrong — just built up the chip on my shoulder that I had ever since I was a little kid.”
Rodgers endured a long wait in the green room in 2005 after the San Francisco 49ers chose Alex Smith with the first overall pick. Still, the criticism thrown at prospects 11 years ago doesn’t compare to what they face today.
“I’m glad the coverage, the scrutiny wasn’t this high in 2005,” Rodgers said. “It felt like there was a lot of eyes on you at the time. Now, those guys can’t go anywhere without cameras at their workouts and obviously the combine is crazy now with every little thing scrutinized and watched by millions of people on the network. It’s a different era.
“It’s fun to look back on my oversized suit and my soul patch and some of the faces I made during the 4½ hours, but obviously everything turned out really well.”