NFL Nation: Mke McCarthy
On April 23, 2005, Rodgers spent an uncomfortable afternoon in the green room at the NFL draft, famously waiting out 23 selections before the Green Bay Packers took him at No. 24 overall.
Almost exactly eight years later -- on April 26, 2013 -- Rodgers signed a deal that in financial terms confirmed he is the best player in the NFL. You would be na´ve to think Rodgers isn't keenly aware of that serendipity. I have no idea if it was his idea to announce the deal on the second day of the 2013 NFL draft, but if it was, I for one wouldn't be surprised.
Like most stars, Rodgers got to this point because he is athletic, a hard worker, a willing learner and an able leader. And make no mistake, plenty of prominent athletes are motivated by outside slights, real or imagined. But I have never run across a player who works so hard to locate, generate and churn through snubs than Rodgers.
There is no doubt he has had his share, from a lack of Division I college scholarship offers to his draft-day tumble to fans' initial lukewarm reaction to his ascension to the starting job in 2008. Yet Rodgers is quite adept, as we've learned over the years, in finding even the most minute slight.
Don't believe me? Consider what happened Friday afternoon, a few minutes before he gave a news conference to local reporters.
It appears that coach Mike McCarthy told him it had been eight years and two days since his brutal stint in the draft green room. Rodgers knew better.
"I said, 'Actually it was [eight years and] three days,'" Rodgers said. "I have a good memory. I'm driven to be the best. Obviously there is a couple less critics out there but I still put a lot of pressure on myself to achieve the goals I set for myself every year and enjoy trying to meet the challenge that those goals bring and opposing teams bring."
Yes, Rodgers hasn't forgotten that day. Thursday night, he found himself tweeting support to West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith, who spent the entire first round in the green room. He said Friday that "there is light at the end of that tunnel."
Rodgers has long since stepped into that light, but my guess is he's keeping one foot in the dark, just for comfort's sake. It's worked so far.
Arguably the most important event of the draft season -- at least between the scouting combine and the draft itself -- will take place Thursday on the University of Georgia campus.
Quarterback Matthew Stafford will headline a Georgia Pro Day that is expected to be attended by every NFL team. Stafford, the top-rated quarterback in the draft and a leading candidate to be the No. 1 overall pick, will throw publicly for the first time since the end of the college season.
Stafford skipped the throwing portion of last month's combine, increasing the importance of Thursday's event. As you might expect, a number of Detroit officials are expected to be in attendance. But the Lions also plan a private workout with Stafford at a later date. He visited their practice facility last week.
We'll keep you updated on the Pro Day as best we can. But in the meantime, here is a link to the Atlanta Journal Constitution's Georgia blog, which reporter Chip Towers will be updating live from the event. Stafford is expected to throw at about 12:15 p.m. ET.
Continuing around the NFC North:
- Quarterback Drew Stanton, the Lions' second-round pick in 2007, is in danger of getting lost in the shuffle in Detroit. Daunte Culpepper is the top candidate to open training camp as the starter, and the Lions have said they plan to sign a veteran backup. But Stanton has been told he has a clean slate with the new coaching staff, according to Tom Kowalski of Mlive.com.
- The Lions hosted a visit Wednesday for Boston College defensive tackle B.J. Raji and Oklahoma State tight end Brandon Pettigrew. David Birkett of the Oakland Press has the details.
- David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune shifts focus from the Bears' right tackle spot to the left side, where former first-round pick Chris Williams has been inserted as the starter.
- Brad Biggs of the Chicago Sun-Times takes an early look at the work of new Bears defensive line coach Rod Marinelli.
- Dave Redding is a "Hall of Fame strength coach," Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy said. Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel profiles the man running the Packers' offseason workouts.
- Former Minnesota safety Darren Sharper, who signed Wednesday with New Orleans, had a parting shot for the Vikings' coaching staff. Here's what Sharper told the New Orleans Times-Picayune, via Judd Zulgad of the Star Tribune: "You love to play for coaches who don't just get caught up in saying, 'This is my system and this is how it's done.' That's how it was in Minnesota."
- The Vikings have agreed to terms with former Cincinnati receiver Glenn Holt, according to ESPN's John Clayton. Holt would have been a restricted free agent this offseason, but the Bengals did not make him a contract tender. He had three receptions in 15 games last season.