By Alex Ptachick
W&M Sports Information Intern
Even if the sun wasn't shining on the morning of June 28, the days of campers attending William and Mary's Colonial All-Pro Football Camp still would have been brightened by the presence of the Green Bay Packers starting quarterback and Super Bowl XLV MVP, Aaron Rodgers.
Rodgers arrived for his work as a guest instructor at the Jimmye Laycock Center around 9 a.m., before making his way to the practice fields where he spoke to and answered questions from young athletes who aspire to be just as successful as Rodgers himself.
"I'm just trying to remind the kids of what's really important," Rodgers said at the close of his visit to camp. "You look at a group like that and they're not all going to the pros, but football is a platform to do things bigger in life."
After meeting with some of the older campers, Rodgers entered Zable Stadium, threw some passes to the younger guys and again talked about his experience as a professional athlete.
Rodgers said that he enjoys seeing kids play football because he remembers what it was like growing up in Northern California with hopes and dreams that he was fortunate enough to bring to life.
"I just hope that I can be some sort of inspiration to [the kids]," Rodgers said. "[Being here] does shed a great light on the opportunity that we have as role models and as professional athletes, to make an impact on kids."
Rodgers has accomplished a lot in his professional career, beginning with being a 2005 first-round draft pick and more recently, leading the Packers to the Super Bowl XLV title with an MVP performance in the championship game.
He said that winning the Super Bowl is a great accomplishment and it shows that all the hard work pays off, but there comes a time when you have to start looking at the next season.
"We're creatures of habit and we put ourselves in positions to think about the next obstacle, the next challenge," Rodgers said. "It was fun to get our rings a couple of weeks ago and see all the guys, but we're going to stop talking about 2010 pretty soon and start thinking about next year."
With the NFL lockout still in effect, next season appears to be questionable. A lot of players' frustration levels are rising as the start of the 2011 NFL season approaches, but Rodgers remains hopeful.
"I have zero frustration right now," Rodgers said. "I'm enjoying the workouts I'm getting in and I'm trusting our representation to get something done."
With more free time this offseason, Rodgers has been spending most of his time in California where he enjoys playing golf and going to the beach after early morning workouts. He's also working on a recording label and is looking forward to launching a new band soon.
"I think everybody needs a mental break after a season like we had," Rodgers said. "I miss the guys, but physically I'm in the best shape I've been in, in my six offseasons, and I'm looking forward to being back in Green Bay whenever that happens."
Rodgers's visit to the Colonial All-Pro Football Camp was the last of three pro visits the camp has seen. Rodgers's teammate, Clay Matthews, and Ndamukong Suh of the Detroit Lions were the other NFL players who made appearances during the week.
"My career will be over at some point, hopefully not in the near future, but I think being a good person obviously lasts a lot longer than being a great football player," Rodgers said. "There are things you can do, and start learning at a young age, that can prepare you for real life."