Aaron Rodgers is giving back to the program that helped him reach the NFL.
Rodgers, the longtime Green Bay Packers quarterback, made a “seven-figure” gift to the football program at the University of California, where he starred in 2003 and 2004 before being selected in the first round of the NFL draft. The school said Rodgers’ contribution (the exact amount was not disclosed) will be used to renovate its locker room and create a new scholarship in Rodgers’ name.
"I'm pleased and proud to make this gift to support Cal football," Rodgers said. "My years at Cal were among the best years of my life. My time in Berkeley created lasting, unforgettable memories. Coach Wilcox was on the coaching staff when I was a Bear, and I am excited about the team's direction with Justin pointing the way. He is a tremendous football coach and an even better role model for his players. I hope that my contribution can help him move this program forward."
The new locker room will be named the Aaron Rodgers Team Locker Room in Rodgers’ honor while the scholarship will be given out to a player who transfers to the Golden Bears from a junior college.
Before becoming a two-time NFL MVP and a Super Bowl champion, Rodgers was a high school quarterback without a major scholarship offer. Rodgers played his freshman season at Butte Community College in California. His strong play at Butte earned him a scholarship offer from Cal.
"Aaron Rodgers is one of the most exceptional players in the history of our football program and among the most recognizable names in the world," Cal athletic director Jim Knowlton said.
"We are tremendously proud of Aaron and grateful that he is providing this level of support to our football program, and we believe it will inspire others, as well. His generosity allows us to greatly enhance our student-athlete experience and provide a scholarship to a deserving junior college transfer.”
Rodgers threw for 5,469 yards and 43 touchdowns in two seasons for the Golden Bears, earning first-team All-Pac 10 honors in 2004, one of the best seasons in program history. From there, Rodgers left Cal a year early and declared for the NFL draft. After several seasons backing up Brett Favre, Rodgers, who was chosen No. 24 overall, became one of the top signal callers in recent memory.
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