The 2017 NFL draft is a couple days away, and that means we get to rehash stories about Aaron Rodgers’ slide down the draft board in 2005. We’ve heard the stories over and over again, but I learned something new today.
ESPN put together an oral history of Rodgers’ draft-day slide, and one of the people involved was then former NFL head coach Jon Gruden. At the time, Gruden was the Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach, and they held the No. 5 pick following a 5-11 season. Gruden and the Bucs elected to draft Carnell “Cadillac” Williams, and Rodgers slide from there.
In his interview for the ESPN oral history, Gruden talked about meeting Rodgers in the pre-draft process. They watched film, then did some gym work, and then went out for the field drills. Gruden brought along some players to put out there with Rodgers, and it turns out Jerry Rice was one of them. I googled that and found some articles a few years old talking about it. I had no idea that had been a thing. How did I miss it?
Gruden had a picture taken with Rodgers and Rice (and Peyton Manning was there too, for some reason). In the interview with ESPN, he joked about how he still has the picture hanging in the offices of the Fired Football Coaches Association, reminding him of why he was fired.
Here’s the picture!