He wouldn't say it, but you get the feeling that Aaron Rodgers would like to stick it to the San Francisco 49ers when they host the Green Bay Packers on Saturday night. Rodgers claims the 49ers told him that they'd take him 1st overall in the 2005 NFL Draft out of the University of California. Instead, they passed on Rodgers and took Utah's Alex Smith, while Rodgers fell all the way to the Packers at number 24.
Rodgers, a native of Chico, California, (about a 2 hour drive) grew up as a 49ers fan and played his college ball across the Bay at Cal-Berkeley. Rodgers wanted desperately to play for his home team. So falling all the way to 24th made for the longest day of his life, or so it seemed.
Then, while Smith was given the starters job midway through his first season, Rodgers would only sit back, watch and learn from Brett Favre. Rodgers quietly bided his time, while Smith would struggle with the 49ers. Now, the shoe is on the other foot. Smith is battling with J.T. O'Sullivan to hang on to the starters job, while Rodgers now has Brett Favre out of the picture and can concentrate on his new gig as the starting quarterback of the Green Bay Packers.
As it turned out, Rodgers is much better off. He's grown both mentally and physically. He's learned from one of the best quarterbacks in the league and now has complete organizational support.
When asked about it this week, Rodgers said he's not about exacting revenge on anyone. But he would like to throw a couple of touchdown passes against the team he grew up cheering for, with family and friends watching in the stands.