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Aaron Rodgers still gets ‘nostalgic’ about his 2005 NFL Draft free-fall

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One of the most drawn-out, uncomfortable and awkward events in NFL Draft history occurred in 2005 as Aaron Rodgers sat and sat and sat and waited an excruciating four-and-a-half hours in the green room to finally hear his name called.

With cameras painfully capturing his every move as name after name — except for his own — were announced, Rodgers became both a punchline and a sympathetic figure as he waited to be selected following Alex Smith being picked first-overall by the San Francisco 49ers.

Rodgers was then expected to be selected soon after Smith, but of course it didn’t happen. Rodgers finally was able to breathe a sigh of relief as the Green Bay Packers selected him with the 24th-overall pick.

Obviously, things worked out very well for Rodgers in Green Bay — despite having to wait out Brett Favre’s annual bouts of doubt and indecision concerning his NFL future — so all’s well that ends well in many respects.

But Rodgers’ draft-day experience was nevertheless a enthralling but also painful thing to witness. But the former NFL MVP and Super Bowl champion remarkably cannot help but reminisce about that horrible day without a sense of nostalgia.

“You can’t help but get nostalgic at times, watching all the coverage,” Rodgers said, via ESPN. “I’ve said this before: I’m glad the coverage and the scrutiny wasn’t this high in 2005. It felt like there were a lot of eyes on you at the time. Now, those guys can’t go anywhere without cameras at their workouts, and obviously the combine is crazy now with every little thing scrutinized and watched by millions of people on the networks.

“It’s a different era. It’s fun for those kids, I think, but it also puts a little bit more pressure on them to be at their best the entire time. But great athletes expect greatness when they step into those arenas. It’s fun to look back on my oversized suit and my soul patch [on draft day] and some of the faces I made during the 4 1/2 hours, but obviously everything turned out really well.”

Indeed it did.

With fellow former Cal quarterback Jared Goff set to be taken presumably either first- or second-overall on Thursday night, Rodgers praised him, calling Goff a “great kid” with a bright NFL future. And the fact Goff won’t have to suffer the seemingly endless agony Rodgers did during his upcoming draft-day experience? So much the better.