Aaron Rodgers and Alex Smith will forever be linked through the 2005 NFL Draft.
The 49ers, selecting No. 1 overall that year, passed on the Chico-born, Cal passer in Rodgers, and opted for Smith, who ran Urban Meyer's system at Utah.
Rodgers, who has since evolved into a two-time league MVP and Super Bowl champion with the Packers, was asked on Wednesday to recall that very draft in which his favorite team growing up passed on him.
Bill Simmons on HBO's Any Given Wednesday asked, “The 49ers thought you were too cocky? … Is that true?”
“Oh, I don’t know. I heard that—," Rodgers said. "I assume. That’s what Mike Nolan said, right?”
Simmons followed up, “How many times have you answered questions about that draft?”
Rodgers replied, “A lot. You know, and it happened. The story that I heard—and I don’t know if it’s true or not—that Mike Nolan said that when he saw Alex (Smith) open the car door for his mom that he knew that was the quarterback he wanted.
“And I said, 'Well, I was at lunch with him. My mom wasn’t there and my dad wasn’t there.'
“I love Alex. Alex is one of my favorite guys in the league. And it’s been fun to watch him grow and get to be in a situation where he can excel and be the quarterback we all expect him to be. And he’s done an incredible job being efficient and making plays and doing what he does. I just laugh at stories like that. Because that has nothing to do with playing quarterback.”
In addition to two MVPs and a Lombardi Trophy, Rodgers is a two-time first-team All-Pro selection with the highest career passer rating in NFL history.
Smith, the former No. 1 overall selection by San Francisco, has surpassed 24,000 career passing yards with nearly twice as many touchdowns as interceptions.
Smith and Rodgers will not face each other during the regular season, but the Chiefs and Packers go head-to-head Thursday, September 1 in the final exhibition tuneup.