Bucs could have had Aaron Rodgers

November, 16, 2011
11/16/11
4:33
PM ET
While saying he doesn’t hold grudges, Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers told the Tampa Bay media in a conference call Wednesday a pretty interesting story about how he was convinced the Bucs would draft him in 2005.

Rodgers, who has a reputation for looking for any perceived slight to provide motivation, even recalled the exact date former Tampa Bay coach Jon Gruden led him to believe he was coming to the Bucs.

“Jon actually called me, when I was in New York, on Thursday, April 21st, and sounded like at the time they were going to take me with the fifth pick,'' Rodgers said.

Rodgers went on to recall how the Bucs went to great lengths to look at him in the draft process. They even brought in Jerry Rice to catch passes from him in a private workout.

Of course, we all know the Bucs didn’t draft Rodgers. He lasted until No. 24, when the Packers took him and let him sit while Brett Favre continued playing. Instead, the Bucs took running back Cadillac Williams.

That turned out to be a fateful decision for Gruden. Part of the reason he was fired after the 2008 season was that he never developed a quarterback for the long term. Revisionist history often is a little harsh, but this isn’t simply the story of the Bucs drafting the wrong guy. At first, it looked like the Bucs found the right guy.

Williams, who the Tampa Bay staff became enamored with when coaching him in the Senior Bowl, had an outstanding rookie season. But Williams later suffered two devastating knee injuries and never again was the same player.

Pat Yasinskas | email

ESPN Tampa Bay Buccaneers reporter

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