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July 9, 2008
STEVE GRIFFITH: We have Aaron Rodgers and Trent Dilfer. I'm going to turn it right over to questions for the media.
Q. Aaron, give us a quick sense of your experience here at the tournament so far over the years and how you think you're going to fare this year?
AARON RODGERS: Coming up to the American Century Championship in Tahoe is basically the best week of summer. The people associated with this tournament, NBC, Harrah's, they take incredible care of us. A lot of great events here. Obviously we're here to play golf. And it's a great event.
I'm usually not somebody who is anywhere close to the lead. But it's always a good time. And there's always some good charities involved with the tournament. This is definitely my best week of the summer and a great way to finish off the off season before going back to camp.
Q. (Question about rumors)
AARON RODGERS: As the organization has commented, I'm going to keep it pretty much the same. I'm not going to speculate about any rumors that are out there.
Q. Some of it is possibly coming back to Green Bay. I've heard people say you shouldn't come back. Your thoughts about the way the media is reacting to it, maybe.
AARON RODGERS: Well, the media has a job to do, so they're reporting the information they get. Other than that, I'm not really going to speculate on any rumors that are out there at the moment.
Q. Aaron, I just wanted to follow up, are you bothered by any of this chatter, or do you not pay attention to it?
AARON RODGERS: You know, I'm up in the mountains hanging out with my family. So I've been pretty immune to any media reports out there.
So that's basically what I'm doing. I'm up here in Tahoe playing in the American Century Championship, and that's kind of my focus the next four or five days.
Q. About your golf game, what's the best part of it and what part do you have to work on the most?
AARON RODGERS: I think I'm a pretty good, I have a pretty good short game. I need to get off the tee well. If you put the ball in the fairway here you can score well. But if not, you're going to be where I usually finish, which is somewhere in the 40s, somewhere in the middle.
Q. Aaron, you enjoying being away during all this stuff, the fact that you're out there in California working out with your guys and doing your thing?
AARON RODGERS: It's been a good off season. I've been spending time in San Diego. James Jones came out to throw a workout. And Brett Swain has been down here since the symposium. I feel like I'm in real good shape right now.
Took a little bit of time to spend with the family up in the mountains with no cell service, so that was nice. And now I'm enjoying the best week of the summer, which is being here in Tahoe.
Q. To be clear, your preparation, obviously, does not change in light of everything that comes out, I mean you're 100 percent focused on July 28th, opening up game?
AARON RODGERS: As usual, I'm coming back more than a week early for training camp, just gotta get my body accustomed to the Midwest time again, get a couple of workouts in with Rock before we start. So nothing's changed. We're right on schedule and looking forward to a good training camp.
Q. Wanted to know what's your favorite thing about golf?
AARON RODGERS: Favorite thing about golf? It is challenging. It's not something that you ever really got totally figured out. At least I don't. You can have a terrible day and hit a great shot on 18 and makes you want to play again.
So I think the competitive nature of trying to hit a small round white ball into a small hole, it's definitely a fun challenge.
Q. What's the worst thing about golf?
AARON RODGERS: When you're shanking the ball way right all day and you don't know how to fix it.
Q. And who would be in your dream court?
AARON RODGERS: Probably Trent Dilfer. Marisa Miller and Skyler Johansson.
Q. How long have you been playing?
AARON RODGERS: I've been playing for about 10 years now, probably. But that's no reflection on where my game is at.
Q. How is golf harder than football?
AARON RODGERS: When I'm playing football, I feel like I can throw the ball just about where I want to every time. When I'm playing golf I can't hit the ball where I want to every time. That's the biggest struggle for me.
Q. What's your handicap?
AARON RODGERS: I think it's about 6 or 7. It's because I post lower scores.
Q. How often do you play?
AARON RODGERS: I'm a member of the course in Green Bay. So I play with my neighbor a lot, as much as I can. And some of the guys on the team when I can and during the off season a couple of weeks hopefully.
Q. Which current pro golfer would make the best quarterback?
AARON RODGERS: Would make the best quarterback? Probably Tiger Woods. He's the best athlete on the tour. But he is from Stanford, so I don't know (chuckling).
Q. How did you learn to play?
AARON RODGERS: I taught myself.
Q. What's your favorite course in the world?
AARON RODGERS: Edgewood, of course.
Q. What equipment do you play with?
AARON RODGERS: Nike. CC irons, Sumo 2 driver.
Q. Aaron, can you just tell me if the Packers have reached out to you in the last week since all this stuff with Brett surfaced; they've been squarely behind you this off season. Have they felt the need to contact you this past week?
AARON RODGERS: I am in constant contact in the off season with Coach McCarthy and Tom Clements. So nothing's changed as far as that goes.
Q. Trent, I was curious, what's your situation now as far as playing in the NFL? And I understand you had an injury.
TRENT DILFER: I'm heartbroken that I won't be competing in the American Century Championship. It's, like Aaron said, the best week of the year, if you're not playing in the Super Bowl. Got a little bad wheel. Injured my Achilles while I was on vacation with my family. I was going to retire anyway. This just gives clarity to the situation. There will be a formal announcement in the next few days about that.
And I'm just really thrilled and looking forward to what's next for me. And obviously miss football. It's been a huge part of my life. But from here on out I'm excited about the possibilities and looking forward.
Q. (Off microphone)?
TRENT DILFER: Do you want to give me some advice? I'm looking at a few different things. And, like I said, I think in the next few days there will be an announcement on all those things. We'll give a formal answer on that.
Q. (Off microphone)?
TRENT DILFER: We're considering it. It's definitely something I would want to do. Lake Tahoe is my favorite place on the planet. I could see myself being there 365. But I've got three little girls and a beautiful wife. I have to take their concerns as well and do what's best for the family.
We'll definitely be up there more and be more active in the community, too, which I think is very important. I definitely want to get more active in the kind of the Tahoe Basin communities and feel more a part of that family up there.
Q. Aaron, if you could say, have you had any recent conversation with Brett Favre?
AARON RODGERS: Me and Brett got along well in Green Bay, became good friends, but I have not talked to him recently about his future plans.
Q. As difficult as the whole process is to just take over as a starter, and especially someone as prominent as that, are you able to completely focus on that or is all the media distraction regarding Brett taking anything away from that?
AARON RODGERS: I'm in the off season right now, so I've been away from most of it for the most part. I've been down in San Diego and up in Chico with my family working out with the trainer in Chico and working out down in San Diego with a few of my receivers and some other pro athletes down there. So I've been pretty focused on what I've got to do to get ready for training camp.
Q. How excited are you about the prospect of what's ahead not only for you but for the Packers being as close as they were to the Super Bowl last year?
AARON RODGERS: Extremely excited. We've got a great young team coming back. And a lot of talent and a lot of different positions. And it's been a great off season. We've had nearly 100 percent attendance for most of the off season and a lot of guys working hard and a lot of guys excited about the direction we're going. And so that's exciting being a part of that.
Q. Is there any particular aspect of your game that you focused on during this off season, just to prove you guys are always looking to improve every year but with consultation with coach McCarthy, has there been any particular focus?
AARON RODGERS: I think it's still mental. A quarterback school we run through in the off season is big mental challenge for us as we go through the entire offense. We diagnose, watch a lot of hours of film each day and that's been the most important thing for me is mentally totally understanding our schema, what we're trying to do and trying to figure out what the other side of the ball is doing as well.
Q. Last thing you set at the outset you're sticking with the organization's thinking about not commenting, no disrespect but can I ask you is there any possibility that Brett is still a teammate in 2008 as opposed to the opposite of that?
AARON RODGERS: Like I said, I'm not going to speculate on any rumors that might be out there. I'm just excited about the season and the opportunity that's in front of the Packers right now.
Q. Aaron, I just wondered how you're going to handle the next three weeks? Are you going to try to detach yourself from all this or do you think you're going to want to check in on a daily basis just to see what the developments are so that you know what you're heading into in the first day of camp?
AARON RODGERS: I'm not going to change anything. I'm going to be here this week. I'll be down in LA next week and I'll be in Green Bay after that. So that's kind of the schedule. And I'm sticking to it.
STEVE GRIFFITH: Aaron, thanks for your time.
Q. Trent, I wanted to know what is your favorite thing about golf?
TRENT DILFER: I'd say the challenge. No matter how good you get you're never as good as you want to be.
Q. And your disfavorite thing?
TRENT DILFER: Probably the same thing.
Q. And how is golf harder than football?
TRENT DILFER: Much more skill-oriented, not nearly as reactive, instinctive. A lot of time for your brain to get in the way of your body doing what it should do.
Q. Who would be in your dream court?
TRENT DILFER: I'd say Tiger Woods, Jack Nicholas, and we'll go with Aaron Rodgers, just to reciprocate the answer.
Q. All right. What's your handicap?
TRENT DILFER: I'm a plus 2.5.
Q. And how long have you been playing?
TRENT DILFER: Since I was 12. So I can't do the math. 24 years.
Q. How did you learn how to play?
TRENT DILFER: Kind of taught myself through the book "Golf My Way" by Jack Nicholas.
Q. What equipment do you play with?
TRENT DILFER: Titleist.
Q. How often do you get to play?
TRENT DILFER: Few times a week in the off season. Probably three times a week.
Q. What's your favorite course in the world?
TRENT DILFER: In the world? I'm not going to say Edgewood, although it's in the top five. Cyprus Point.
Q. Trent, I wanted to ask you, what's your fondest memory of playing in Baltimore, and how do you feel about everything going on right now with the team, kind of a different direction than when you were there?
TRENT DILFER: My fondest memory is probably the AFC championship game, going back home to Oakland and playing in front of so many friends and family and winning the way we did.
You have to go back and remember that season. They were the favorites from the AFC and one of the hottest teams going in and nobody gave us much of a chance. So to beat them the way we did, and to make the big play with Shannon and to do it in front of so many friends and family was probably the highlight. What was the second part of the question?
Q. How do you feel about what's going on now, a big different direction with the team with Coach Arbol coming in, do you stay in contact with the guys and talk about that at all?
TRENT DILFER: Absolutely. I talked to Steve Rashadi a few times. They're excited about what's going on there. Talking to Kyle Boller, seems that the offense has a lot better structure organization; they're excited about the change and being able to utilize more of their weapons.
And I think they're doing the right thing, this is not a Brian Billick bashing, but sometimes things just get old and stale. And I think that's why Jimmy Johnson always said he'd never coach anywhere for more than five years.
Just to have a fresh face there, new schemes, still able to maintain the integrity of the defensive scheme. And I think it's very important for them. And I think Coach Arbol will kind of instill some excitement, some energy into all of them and rejuvenate some of those old legs on defense.
Q. As far as you were talking about, what's the biggest thing you're going to miss about football?
TRENT DILFER: The camaraderie. I think everybody I talked to says that that's about the hardest thing to get away from is just the locker room, just being around the guys each day the routine of the season. And then just being part of the team. Being part of the team is a special thing.
And that's what I've always enjoyed most about football, the team sport. And so that's going to be very difficult. But I knew this time was coming, and here it is. So it's a hill you've got to climb.
Q. You talked to Aaron extensively and mentored him. What would you advise him? He seems like a very mentally tough guy, 24-year-old, but you know him much better. Can he handle whatever comes about, whether there's a return from Favre or even just a distraction from all this, what do you think how he'll handle this in the next couple of weeks?
TRENT DILFER: First of all, it was not my advice to give him the standard "I'm not going to comment on any rumors that are out there." That was not me that gave him the advice.
Yes, he is. He's incredibly mentally tough. He's been very, very patient. I think his relationship with Brett has grown very strong over the years. And he's appreciated what he's learned from Brett. He's appreciated watching Brett do his thing, which has been an amazing thing to watch from afar. I can imagine how cool it's been to watch firsthand.
But at the same time, Aaron was very energized by Brett's retirement, was excited to kind of take the reigns. From everything I've heard in Green Bay, he's done a fabulous job this off season of doing that and trying -- being himself but yet leading and embracing the role very adamantly after Brett's left.
So I think it would be frustrating for him. I think he will be disappointed. Obviously Brett holds all the cards here. But at the same time, like anything, you deal with it. And just because Brett came back, if Brett were to come back and play and start and all those things, always one snap away.
I know we're saying that about the most durable football player in the history of the NFL, but things change very quickly in this league, and you're one snap away and all the hard work he invested into this thing, it still paid off. It just may not be the scenario that everybody had planned on.
Q. Can I get your opinion on one thing? From all your years of playing and everything you've seen, is there a shelf life for quarterbacks as far as waiting in the wings? Is three years long enough? Is he simply at the point where he must play somewhere at some point this year in his fourth year?
TRENT DILFER: No, there's no shelf life. Not if you handle it correctly, which Aaron has done it. Aaron is the model for how you handle it. The two guys I've seen handle it the best have come from Green Bay. Matthew Hasselbeck, when he was there, although he wasn't drafted to be a starter.
In his mind, he was doing that, and the way he handled it in Green Bay, just knowing him as well as I do and watching him after he got to Seattle, the way Matthew did it and the way Aaron's done it, get a lot of playing time in the preseason. They handle a lot of the off season because the starter isn't always necessarily involved.
And then they're leaders. They're natural born leaders, and the starter doesn't get threatened by the leadership. So they've been able to be in a back-up role but still command the part of the football team.
So both of them have done that. Aaron's done it wonderfully, because of that he can wait in the wings for years. When it's his time to play, he'll be fine, and be very successful.
You have to look at Steve Young and kind of what he went through at San Francisco and look at that model. Yes, he played early on, had some failures. As long as you're getting reps in practice and training season, you'll be sharp.
Q. I wanted to know which current pro golfer would make the best quarterback?
TRENT DILFER: Without a doubt, Tiger, just because he's so mentally tough and that's what the quarterback is all about. You have to be mentally tougher than anybody else on the field.
Q. As far as what you said about the camaraderie, how do you think being together with the athletes today will prepare being in the locker room?
TRENT DILFER: I didn't hear the question and didn't understand the question.
Q. I said as far as what you said about the camaraderie being with the athletes in the locker room, how long do you think it will compare to being with the athletes on the course?
TRENT DILFER: That's one of the wonderful things about the American Century Championship, each year it's a little reunion amongst the guys. That's one of the things we enjoy the most. And it is very gratifying to have those relationships and to be able to see everybody once a year. But it doesn't compare to the locker room environment. The locker room environment, it's very hard to put in words. It's unique and it's impossible to replace.
STEVE GRIFFITH: Trent, thanks for your time.
End of FastScripts