Many athletes who find sports glory have a story or two of someone who thinks they couldn't make it.
Aaron Rodgers has such a story, but his sounds like it's less about Rodgers' ability and more about how a college professor in his food appreciation class (you read that right) probably needs to get a grip.
Rodgers told his story during his weekly appearance on ESPN Milwaukee this week, and he said he's been waiting "for years" to recount the college run-in that left a chip in his shoulder as he worked his way to the NFL.
As Rodgers tells it, he was taking the food appreciation class as part of an American Studies major, which he switched to when he realized Cal's Communications program wouldn't set him up very well to be in broadcasting — his backup plan if he didn't make it to the NFL. Rodgers and other students had been given Fs on a paper after not citing some information correctly, but the students were given a chance to rewrite the paper — except Rodgers. His paper got rejected, and the instructor who was in charge of his section of the class couldn't tell him why the professor wouldn't accept it.
So Rodgers, who said he's never had an "F" except for a seed-planting project in the fourth grade, skipped the start of football practice to talk with the professor and fight for his grade.
"I went in there," he said on ESPN radio, according to sportsrapport.com, "and she was ready for me.
"She basically ripped me apart and said that athletes always want stuff given to them, that I wasn't going to be able to re-write my paper, and on and on and on," he added. "She went into this tirade about athletes and entitlements and whatnot."
Rodgers said he was particularly surprised because his academics were great — he was second-team All-Academic at Cal and "probably the best student out of the 11 football players" in the class.
But it wasn't just the teacher's ill feelings toward football players that got Rodgers going. She appeared to have a deeper agenda.
"She's looking at me, condescending, talking down to me," Rodgers said. "And she says, 'What do you want to do with yourself?' I said, 'I want to play in the NFL.'
"She laughed. She laughed at me. It was a condescending laugh, and she said, 'You'll never make it. You'll get hurt. You'll need your education, and you're going to make it through school here.' "
Rodgers said he thanked the teacher, telling the radio host that he appreciated her "adding to that chip on my shoulder." He, of course, has not only made it to the NFL but has excelled, winning the league MVP award and a Super Bowl.
Rodgers had to overcome all kinds of critics as he made his way out of Cal and eventually took the starting role in Green Bay after legend Brett Favre was let go by the team. This year, he's been under fire from analysts and even his teammates for his leadership and sometimes lack of production.
So, when it comes to thriving on criticism, it's hard to believe a college professor was a main impetus — no matter how excited Rodgers was to get that one off his chest.
Even if Rodgers showed her, here's guessing that the food appreciation teacher has bigger issues going on after this one.
Hat tip to Sportsrapport via thebiglead