Aaron Rodgers Nearly Quit Playing Football Years Before Reaching the NFL

Aaron Rodgers has become one of the game’s all-time great quarterback talents with the Green Bay Packers. Rodgers has constructed a first-ballot Hall of Fame career that will land his bust in Canton, Ohio, one day down the line. However, before ever reaching the NFL, he nearly went down another path entirely.

Aaron Rodgers’ impressive NFL career

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Despite sitting on the bench behind Hall of Famer Brett Favre for his first three NFL seasons, Aaron Rodgers has strung together an illustrious career.

Rodgers has cemented himself as one of the game’s greatest quarterbacks. Beyond leading his team to a Super Bowl 45 win, he has secured a Super Bowl 45 MVP award, two regular-season MVP honors, three First-Team All-Pro selections, and nine Pro Bowl nods.

Rodgers holds numerous NFL records, such as becoming the fastest to reach 400 career passing touchdowns (193 games). He is also the only player with a 4:1 touchdown to interception ratio and the first player with a career passer rating over 100.0.

Before Rodgers found any of that NFL success, he nearly went an entirely different pathway.

Aaron Rodgers nearly took another career path away from football

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Several years before Aaron Rodgers entered the NFL, he almost went down another athletic career path. 

Rodgers played baseball during his high school days and found some encouraging success on the mound as a picture at Pleasant Valley High School. In an interview with In Depth With Graham Bensinger in 2010, he revealed that he nearly considered choosing to play baseball over football.

“I gave it some serious consideration,” said Rodgers. “At the time I weighing after my spring baseball year that went pretty well pitching at least. I was throwing pretty hard and supposedly there were a couple of scouts that came and looked at me at some point.

“I was really considering playing summer baseball with an opportunity to play with the legion team in town. Or train and play in this All-Star football game and go to Butte [Community] College or do something completely different. Those were my three options. Football was still my first love so it kind of won out.

Rodgers didn’t have much recruitment from colleges coming out of high school, but that didn’t deter his love for the game. In the same 2010 interview with Graham Bensinger, he voiced that lack of recognition from colleges only pushed him harder.

Rodgers chose to play at Butte Community College, which he then transferred to the University of California, Berkeley. He shined with that opportunity with the Golden Bears that helped him become a first-round draft pick by the Packers in 2005.

Super Bowl window remains open

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Throughout his impressive NFL career, Aaron Rodgers has used different means of motivation to push him forward.

Rodgers faced significant external doubt before the 2020 season after the Packers elected to move up to take Jordan Love in the first round of this year’s draft. Although Rodgers won’t acknowledge that being a motivating factor, his play speaks for itself this year.

The 37-year-old will likely earn the third regular-season MVP award of his career after passing for a career-high, and league-best 48 touchdown passes. He also threw for 4,299 passing yards with a career-best 70.7% completion rate and held an NFL-best 121.5 passer rating.

Rodgers’ performance also helped the Packers secure a first-round bye in the playoffs with a chance to compete for the Super Bowl. Not only is the table set to vie for a championship this year, but his play showcases he has plenty left in the tank in his NFL career.