GREEN BAY, Wis. — Nobody needs to remind Aaron Rodgers of the gray in his beard. He sees it himself, just as he feels the hits a little harder, notices the rushing lanes close a little quicker, watches his rookie teammates arrive a little more baby-faced each offseason.
The quarterback potentially poised to win a second straight MVP this season might be defying Father Time at age 38. Rodgers knows where he’s at in his career. The math is every bit as undeniable as the gray. When Rodgers tossed his last touchdown pass Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens, an 11-yard slant to Marquez Valdes-Scantling, he tied Brett Favre with 442 thrown as a Green Bay Packers quarterback.
That makes the next touchdown pass Rodgers throws, likely coming Saturday against the Cleveland Browns, perhaps the most special so far in his Hall of Fame career.
“I have a lot of love for Favrey,” Rodgers said. “And, again, a lot of gratitude for the time I got to spend watching him. Not a lot of young quarterbacks are blessed with the opportunity to go to a team with a first-ballot Hall of Famer in the same room, and to get to watch and learn for three years. Somebody asked me the other day, ‘Do you think things would have turned out the way they did if you’d been a starter in Year 1?’ The obvious competitor in you, and the confidence and the ego, say, ‘Of course. Of course. I definitely would have turned out this way.’
“But I think the human element, and the observer, and the gratitude is understanding things happen the way they happen to allow me to get in this position.”
Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers at halftime of a 2015 game.
There was a time, of course, Rodgers might not have used the word “blessing” to describe the first three years of his career. It didn’t start the way he’d hoped. Even getting his eventual shot in 2008 came with turbulence. Rodgers was unforgettably booed inside Lambeau Field during Family Night that year. For a time, it seemed like Packers fans might…