We all know about the chip Aaron Rodgers has been carrying around for years - you know the one that started when he wasn’t considered by colleges out of high school; the one that grew when he ended up at a junior college and then continued to bear down on him when he was passed over 23 times before finally being selected by the Green Bay Packers in the 2005 NFL Draft.
And we don’t have to tell you about his first few seasons riding the bench behind Brett Favre and when he finally got his chance to start – not everyone had a clear vision of who this guy was. Ted Thompson and Mike McCarthy did.
So Aaron knows a bit about chips – something he hopes his brother, Jordan Rodgers, gets to understand, too.
You see, the younger Rodgers was signed as a free agent a few days ago by the Jacksonville Jaguars – a team where he thought he has his best shot. But he’s still going in with that chip. He thought that after starting 20 games at Vanderbilt this past season that he would at least have been invited to the NFL Combine. He wasn’t. He also thought he had a shot of being drafted last weekend. He wasn’t. Not even his brother’s team, the Packers, showed an interest.
So, now he’s a Jaguar and ready to take on the NFL.
Today he told Paul Imig in an interview that ”I’ve carried my chip with me my entire career. I’ve had to fight and claw for every position I’ve had. I sat on the bench as a junior in high school, I had to compete my senior year in high school to get the job, I competed again at Vanderbilt before having success. Just carrying that and factoring in the Combine; I deserved to be there.”
That’s something that really pleases Aaron – the richest man in the NFL right now who is pulling heavily for his brother to succeed.
“The ultimate cool thing for a big brother is to see your little brother pass you up,” the elder Rodgers told Imig in 2011. “For him to get a level where he’s playing better than me would be my dream. I’m a competitor, and it’s tough to say, but I think any big brother would love to see your little brother exceed your success. Pretty soon they won’t be talking about me when they’re talking about him.”
But the younger Rodgers has a ways to go and he knows it. That’s one of the reasons he signed with Jacksonville. He said his choices were between the Detroit Lions and the Jaguars, though he had several offers on the table. It was the Jaguars that offered the best opportunity for him to succeed – the team has two signal callers who were with the team last year – Blaine Gabbert and Chad Henne. Rodgers joins fellow free agent Matt Scott of Arizona on the roster competing for a job.
While Aaron signed his $110 million contract on the second day of the draft, his thoughts were with his younger brother and his chances in making it in the league. At the time, Jordan had not been drafted and was a couple of days from signing with a team, but Aaron spoke of what his brother needed to do: ”Hopefully he gets in a situation where he can compete for a backup job because a lot of times it’s about the opportunity and the place you’re at as much as it is about your immediate ability to be successful.”
He should know. He’s been there and done that.
And if Jordan is like his brother in the chip department, he’s in a good spot.