On today's Pardon My Take... AARON RODGERS! We kicked off Grit Week 2022 presented by Coors Light with an awesome interview featuring Big Cat's arch nemesis that took place at Packers camp in Green Bay. The reigning NFL MVP joined Mr. Cat and Mr. Commenter on the show to discuss some of the highlights of his football career, which wins against Big Cat's Bears he cherishes most, his new tattoo, and much, much more.
Despite being a Super Bowl Champion and four-time NFL MVP, it hasn't always been smooth sailing for Aaron Rodgers. In fact, if you turn back the time to 2002, there was a point that the Packers quarterback thought he would walk away from football to become... a lawyer? That's right. No. 12 broke down the details of this story on today's show. Take a look:
Mr. Cat: Your story of getting to the NFL – so, you were lightly recruited, I think I read at one point that you were thinking about just quitting football and going to be a lawyer, right?
Aaron Rodgers: I was thinking about it.
Mr. Cat: How close were you at that point? Like, because I just want to go home and fantasize about a different world where you just never played football. You stuck it out. People think, Aaron Rodgers, your talent is so out of this world. They don’t think grit. But then when you read about having to start at Chico, it was Chico?
Aaron Rodgers: Butte.
Mr. Cat: Butte. Yeah, right by Chico. And then, going to Cal, and not getting all of those scholarship offers and, like, you know, falling in the draft. Were there moments where you were like, “This just isn’t going to work out.”
Aaron Rodgers: For sure, and it was, when I think about it, there was like one day that kind of course corrected everything. It was in February of 2002, and the baseball coach, who had been my JV football coach, had been kind of prodding me to maybe come out and play baseball and pitch, and I hadn’t played since eighth grade. And so, the pitchers and catchers were playing catch on the blacktop or something and he said, “Oh, come out and throw a little bit,” and they had the gun out there. And that one day, I think, changed my, kind of turned back on my competitive fire.
Mr. Cat: Really?
Aaron Rodgers: Because I came out of the winter, had no offers, and really didn’t know what I was going to do. Obviously, the JUCO’s in the area wanted me to come play there, but growing up, you don’t dream about playing, you know, JUCO ball. You dream about playing on Saturdays on ABC with Keith Jackson calling your games. You’re not thinking about playing at Cowan Stadium in Oroville, California in front of 500 people. But playing baseball that spring really kind of gave me my competitive fire back, and I played in this All-Star football game that summer. And I say “All-Star” very lightly, because it was in Northern California, kind of North-South, there were only a few of us from that game who went on to play in college. But that kind of gave me my fire back. I went to Junior College at Butte, had a fantastic time, still very close with my coaches there, and then the rest is kind of history.
Mr. Cat: That’s crazy, so there’s an alternate world where if that invite doesn’t happen, not saying you would have stopped playing sports, but you might have been like, “Alright, I’m going to figure out something else in life.”
Aaron Rodgers: Yeah, I mean, there’s a world. I was dealing with a major knee injury that was frustrating for two years in high school, and I was like, “Maybe I’ll just rehab, maybe I’ll get surgery.” I don’t know what I wanted to do, and then that day kind of… “Oh, okay. Let me get into this next challenge. How can I be the best pitcher this year?” And that kind of got my mindset adjusted, and that competitive fire kind of came back.
Mr. Cat: And what was that guy’s game? I just want to know for personal reasons, I just want to call him up and…
Aaron Rodgers: Uhhh, Daniel Katz, I think?
Mr. Cat: Motherfucker.
Mr. Commenter: Build a time machine and stop that man.
Mr. Cat: I want to find that guy, yeah. If I built a time machine and the one thing I could do is find that baseball coach and be like, “Don’t invite Aaron to practice today!” And then, you’re a lawyer. You would have been a terrible lawyer, oh my God.
Aaron Rodgers: Really?
Mr. Cat: Yeah, you would have been a terrible lawyer.
Aaron Rodgers: Why?
Mr. Cat: I could just feel it. Nah, you just wouldn’t have been a good lawyer, I just know it. That’s all I’ve got right now.
Aaron Rodgers: Probably true.
Mr. Cat: I’m grasping.
If this isn't a story that perfectly defines grit, I don't know what is. Aaron Rodgers went from considering stepping away from football, to Butte Community College, to Cal, and then to the NFL as a quarterback for the Green Bay Packers. You can love him, you can hate him (like Big Cat), but you have to respect him. This was an incredible interview and a great way to kick off this year's Grit Week. Be sure to check out the full interview below and stay tuned to the blog for some more Grit Week coverage over the course of the next few days.