Aaron Rodgers may not be on the field much in 2023, but he’s got no plans to call it a career just yet. It turns out he was also instrumental in jump-starting the career of another big-time California athlete: Marshawn Lynch.
Speaking to Shannon Sharpe on the “Club Shay Shay” podcast this week, Lynch called his former college teammate “the reason why I got my opportunity at Cal.” And he cited a specific moment from 2004, Rodgers’ final season before joining the NFL.
Already facing slim odds to see the field behind 2,000-yard rusher and future NFL back J.J. Arrington, Lynch was summoned into the starting lineup for an unexpected rep against the first-team defense during Cal’s spring game.
“Man, I get there, I’m looking across that defense, like, ‘Oh, s-.’ Them grown-ups,” he said. “(The play started, and) I done went the wrong way. I done went the wrong damn way. But this is how I knew A-Rod was special. As A-Rod turning around, he looking for me, he sees I’m on the other side. A-Rod pulls (the smoothest) move I’ve ever seen. That boy turned around and handed the ball off to me backwards.”
But what happened next really sealed the deal for Lynch. With his running backs coach chewing into him for the mistake, and the head coach about to join the heated discussion, Rodgers butted in.
“Before (Coach) could even get over there to open his mouth, I just hear A-Rod telling him, ‘Nah, nah, nah, that was me.’ My running back coach is like, ‘No, he ran the wrong way, I know he did!’ … A-Rod’s like, ‘No, no, no, I did the wrong thing. I did.’ … I’m sitting there, like, ‘You solid like that.’ Now, me and A-Rod built a level of trust. A-Rod, he really put me in the mix.”
Lynch would go on to play most of his NFL career with nine-time Pro Bowler Russell Wilson in Seattle, but he maintains that Rodgers is one of the best quarterbacks he’s ever played with, even though their time together was limited to that one season.