GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — This ought to give Aaron Rodgers fond memories of the NFL draft.
The Green Bay Packers announced Friday that they’d signed the quarterback to a contract extension. Though the team didn’t release details, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported it’s for five years and $110 million, which would be the highest salary in NFL history. The Baltimore Ravens gave quarterback Joe Flacco $120.6 million over six years in March.
“An exciting day for our football program,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said in a statement. “Aaron is an excellent illustration of a Green Bay Packer. It is truly a blessing to witness his continued accomplishments, both on and off the field.”
Rodgers was to address the media later Friday at Lambeau Field.
Locking up Rodgers was a priority for the Packers, who also reached a long-term extension with linebacker Clay Matthews this month. The Packers are 53-27 in Rodgers’ five years as a starter, and he led them to the Super Bowl title following the 2010 season.
He has thrown for 21,661 yards and 171 touchdowns, and has had a quarterback rating of 101.2 or better in all but one season as a starter. His quarterback rating of 122.5 in 2011 is an NFL record.
“Aaron is a true professional and a special player,” general manger Ted Thompson said in a statement. “He works hard, is humble, and is focused on his actions, on and off the field. He is an excellent teammate and pushes himself and others to be the very best. We are happy to reach an agreement to extend his career with the Packers.”
The announcement of the extension comes eight years after Rodgers was snubbed by almost every other team in the NFL draft.
A standout at Cal, Rodgers was expected to be taken early in the first round of the 2005 draft. But he soon found himself alone in the green room, and didn’t hear his name until the Packers chose him with the 24th overall pick.
It wasn’t the last rough spot Rodgers would encounter.
He arrived in Green Bay as a backup to Brett Favre, who wasn’t thrilled that the team had found an heir apparent. Favre kept fans and the franchise on their toes every offseason, flirting with the idea of retiring but always coming back. When the tension finally snapped in 2008 — Favre retired, changed his mind and asked for his job back — Rodgers found himself in the middle of the most bitter divorce in Wisconsin history.
Favre was traded to the New York Jets during training camp, but many fans remained loyal to him. They took their anger at the organization out on Rodgers, even booing him at the team’s “Family Night” scrimmage. Rodgers kept his composure, never firing back at fans or even criticizing Favre.
Rodgers played well in his first year as a starter. Despite a 6-10 record, he showed flashes of why Thompson had such faith in him, and fans began coming around. Any lingering animosity disappeared after he led the Packers to the playoffs following the 2009 season, and he’s now one of the most beloved figures in Wisconsin sports history. The Wisconsin Legislature designated Dec. 12, 2012, as “Aaron Rodgers Day,” and students and workers throughout the state were encouraged to celebrate by wearing his jersey.
When he was shown on the Jumbotron at the Milwaukee Bucks’ playoff game against the Miami Heat on Thursday, he got one of the biggest cheers of the night.
Rodgers holds four of Green Bay’s top five single-season marks for passer rating (2009-12) and two of the top three for passing TDs (2011-12). He also has three of the top four records for completion percentage (2010-12) and two of the top three for passing yards (2009, 2011).
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