Once the NFL lockout was resolved, the big question quickly became: How will the fact that the teams weren’t able to have OTAs and their usual offseason programs affect them once the season opens. Just one day before the season starts, Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers is here to tell you that it won’t.
Rodgers says he laughs at anyone who asks if these first couple weeks will be sloppy. In fact, the Super Bowl MVP really sounds pretty loose. I guess that’s no surprise, but I think it’s a pretty good sign for a team that’s trying to repeat as world champions.
Aaron Rodgers joined ESPN Milwaukee with Jason Wilde to discuss why he hasn’t gotten any high profile gigs like GQ covers despite being the reigning Super Bowl MVP, if he’s a fan of the Brewers and Tony Plush, if there’s a Plush-type character in the Packers’ locker room, what he learned about egos last year during the Packers run to the title, his crazy facial hair, the season finally getting started and why he doesn’t think the level of play will be sloppy to start the year like so many are expecting.
I saw the GQ Magazine with Mark Sanchez on the cover. How come you didn’t get any gigs like that?:
“That’s the first thing you thought of? Look at this [they have the magazine on set]. That’s embarrassing. Page 94 of the GQ thing here. That’s terrible.”
OK, but how come you didn’t get on any magazine covers?:
“It’s just not really my style. I like my anonymity, I like my privacy. I like to be the quarterback during the week and, in the offseason, be able to do what I want to do and not be in the public eye.”
Are you following the Brewers’ pennant race and are you a fan of Tony Plush?:
“I am a T-Plush fan. … I got to go down this offseason and be in the locker room. It was right after the first interview that Nyjer really kind of jumped on the scene when he was talking about the Usain Bolt and the arrow thing and just all over the place. They played it in the locker room five or six times and it was hilarious. … T-Plush, I don’t think he realized the guys were laughing at him as much as the guys that were laughing with him. The thing I like about that locker room is they really like to tease each other, get after each other, but they all really care about each other.”
What’s the dynamic of the Packers’ locker room? Is there a T-Plush kind of character?:
“There’s a lot of characters, but maybe none bigger than Jermichael Finley. J-Mike is a walking one-liner. He’s a reporter’s best friend and a head coach’s worst nightmare sometimes when he’s answering questions. We like to laugh about some of his answers. But when you break it down, he’s a very confident young man. We love his swagger and the confidence he brings to the locker room, but he can definitely ruffle some feathers when he’s making bold predictions.”
On what he learned about egos during last year’s Super Bowl run:
“Anybody who touches the ball has some sort of ego and on some level wants to get there’s. I think we learned last year that the success of the team makes the whole better. We really had a team that cared about winning first and we brought in guys that were hungry and wanted to be a part of something special.”
On his facial hair and the friendly mutton chops:
“I wasn’t able to really grow any facial hair besides my little flavor-savor underneath my lip, which is what I wore for the 2005 Draft. … My rookie year … it really started to grow under my chin. I had like this chin hair that kind of hung down a good inch or so, but I always looked forward to the day, and I’m serious, that I could grow it long on my face. Ever since my dad had a mustache for the first 20 years of my life, I always found them semi-amusing. … The mutton chops started the year before, really, 2007, when I wore a very weird lime green mock turtleneck … and a sport coat that didn’t match and pants that didn’t match and shoes. … I started saying, ‘I’m going to do something silly for the last road trip of the preseason every year.’”
Your thoughts on the beginning of the season and the opener against the Saints:
“I think I’ve been nervous for one game this preseason and that was the first one. I was more nervous to play in Cleveland on that first drive than I was in the Super Bowl. It just felt weird kind of being back out there I guess. … I’m excited about this game. I’m excited to get back to the games that really matter.”
At any level, do you feel you’re not as prepared because the lockout messed up the offseason?:
“I don’t. I really don’t. I think way too much has been made of the offseason stuff and whether teams did workouts or not. … With four or five weeks of training camp, so much time in the meeting rooms, on the practice field, this is going to be a well-prepared football team. I laugh about the people talking about, ‘Is this going to be a sloppier first few weeks?’ … No, it’s not.”