Aaron Rodgers: 2008 seems like a lifetime ago

Aaron Rodgers had a rough go of it in 2008, but those days are like ancient history.
Raymond T. Rivard photograph

Six years is a long time and for Aaron Rodgers it may seem like a lifetime ago.

That’s because it was at this time in 2008, during the height of the “Bring Brett back to Green Bay” movement, that Rodgers was probably dealing with some of the most difficult times of his career as a Green Bay Packer.

No matter what side of the aisle one was on during those days when Brett was lobbying to step back into his starting role with the Packers, Ted Thompson and Mike McCarthy were steadfast in their commitment to Rodgers, saying the team was moving on.

Hindsight has vindicated Thompson and McCarthy … in fact, it proved them to be geniuses.

Sure, Favre had two more seasons left him in at that point in time, but the Packers were ready to move on with Rodgers. That said, it’s interesting the Jason Wilde of ESPN Milwaukee dug up the following quote from Rodgers in 2008. The guy was just trying to learn what it takes to be an NFL quarterback. He learned quickly, but at the time there was plenty of uncertainty.

Here’s how he was seeing life at the time:

“I understand it to some point if I put myself into a Favre fanatic’s shoes,” Rodgers said. “The things I can’t understand, the things I really take personally, is when I’m driving up to the (parking lot) gate and punching in my punch code and somebody says, ‘Hey Rodgers, Eff you!’ to me. That kind of gets to me. That bothers me a little bit. Or when a little kid is yelling swear words at me. That kind of gets to me a little bit.

“The boos, they expect a high level of play and they miss Brett Favre. I understand that. But the ‘Eff you!’ and the little kids saying swear words to me? I don’t understand that.”

Rodgers said he’s had such situations happen “half a dozen times” during camp, and acknowledged there’s not much he can do about it, other than play well.

“What can you do? Do people really feel better about themselves after they say stuff like that to me? I don’t know,” Rodgers said. “It’s disappointing. I’m not too dumb, I’m not going to say anything back to them. If you’re going to root for the Jets, you don’t have to come to Packers practice.”

So, here we are in 2013 with an entirely different outlook.

You can bet there aren’t any kids waiting for Rodgers at the gate swearing at him. He’s become the face of the franchise, sitting in the seat that was once occupied by Favre.

We can only hope that Rodgers’ description above is ancient history as we move into another season of high expectations.

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