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Aaron Rodgers reminisces about playing with Marshawn Lynch at Cal

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With their teams set to play in the NFC Championship Game on Sunday, Aaron Rodgers spent some time Wednesday reminiscing about being a teammate of Marshawn Lynch during their college days.

Rodgers, in his final season with the Bears in 2004, spent one year at Cal as Lynch’s teammate during the running back’s freshman year. The Green Bay Packers quarterback’s recollection of the misunderstood, media-adverse man now known as “Beast Mode” jibes with the general consensus of what has been said by the Seattle Seahawks reluctant star by those who spend a lot of time with him: Even though he may seem somewhat peculiar to outsiders, he is a great guy and even better teammate.

“He was a lot of fun to play with. He’s a great player,” Rodgers told reporters Wednesday, via ESPN Wisconsin. “Marshawn was an extremely gifted athlete. He used to always challenge me in throwing competitions. I won’t say I beat him every single time because he’s got a heck of an arm – distance wise, not accuracy.

“But he was a great teammate. We had a lot of fun. Oakland guy, so he loved being in the Bay Area and representing for his city, as he used to say. But he’s a talented guy. It’s been fun to watch him and follow him and see him at various events.”

Here’s Rodgers and Lynch fraternizing on the field during a 2013 preseason game, an encounter during which the running back razzes the quarterback about his mustache (via USA Today):

Rodgers recalled how the Packers came pretty close to acquiring Lynch when the Buffalo Bills were seeking out potential trade partners for the disgruntled running back during the 2010 season. But things didn’t work out. Lynch of course ended up with the Seattle Seahawks and the Packers rode James Starks to the Super Bowl XLV title and presently are perfectly content with Eddie Lacy in the backfield.

“He was on the market for what didn’t seem like a whole lot getting out of Buffalo. I think they ended up taking that offer based on where the pick would lie in the draft because of the records,” Rodgers said. “So it’d be interesting to see any of the what-if’s if he had come here. But Eddie’s a very similar-style back, as far as not being taken down with the first defender, running through arm tackles, his ability to catch the ball and make something as well. And both Marshawn and Eddie are great blockers in the pass protection.”

Meanwhile, as the Packers and Seahawks prepare for Sunday’s showdown, both Rodgers and Lynch were not full participants in practice on Wednesday. Lynch reportedly sat out under a “not injury related designation” and Rodgers was listed as “limited” on the injury report. Obviously both are expected to be on the field come Sunday doing everything in their power to help their respective teams punch their ticket to Super Bowl XLIX.