Jordan Rodgers didn’t take the average path to the National Football League. The younger brother of Packers star and Super Bowl XLV MVP Aaron Rodgers, Jordan followed in his older brother’s footsteps by taking the JUCO route, attending one of the nation’s top junior colleges in Butte Community College.
At Butte, a national powerhouse among JUCO schools, Rodgers led the Roadrunners to a national title in 2008 with a 12-0 record, while breaking school record for total offense, passing for 2,219 yards and 19 touchdowns. That opportunity allowed Rodgers to mature and develop under legendary coach Jeff Jordan, propelling the younger Rodgers to a successful career at Vanderbilt, and short stints with the Jacksonville Jaguars and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Last week, Rodgers inked a deal with the Miami Dolphins and is hoping to finally get an opportunity to showcase his skills. His JUCO coach believes that an opportunity is all that the younger Rodgers needs to succeed.
In an interview with the Finsiders, Coach Jordan talked about the quarterback he watched grow into a star at Butte, and about the opportunity Rodgers needs to become more than just another man on an NFL roster.
“He just needs to get a longer chance than what he’s had. I think he had a lot to do that that program (Vanderbilt) had, and not just from his own ability but his ability to make other people around him better” said Jordan. “That goes from the weight room to the film room and all that stuff, and I’d think he’d be a great edition. Hopefully he has a chance to make the ball club.”
Now Jordan wasn’t the only member of the Rodgers family that faced competition and adversity throughout his career. Older brother Aaron had to be patient for his shot at NFL stardom, and we’re not just talking about his legendary wait in the green room at the 2005 NFL Draft.
“Aaron had to compete when he was at Cal. They had an incumbent starter and two years later he became a first round draft pick, said Jordan. “Then he had to back up Brett Favre and then he got his opportunity and I’m just hoping Jordan gets that opportunity with the Dolphins.”
That one chance is all a player needs sometimes, and even in a backup role or 3rd string role, Rodgers’ former coach at Butte thinks he can shine.
“I think if he just gets an opportunity, even if it is in a 3rd string role and in a second string role. That’s just kind of the way that it was here for him. Then when he was at Vanderbilt he had to compete, he’s not afraid to do that. Hopefully he’ll have an opportunity that’s long enough so he can show what he can do and how he can make other people around him better and then see what happens.”
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