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25-Nov-2019 13:37

"I think questions like that in your mind lead to really beautiful periods where you start to grow as a person," he says. you realize, I don't really know the answers to these questions." to my house, he stops in a hipster café in my neighborhood (think: exposed brick, single-origin list, baristas with deliberately misshapen haircuts) and texts to ask whether I want a cup of coffee. When I open the door, I see him sitting in the middle of the store, surrounded by aspiring screenwriters glued to their laptops. Rodgers likes LA for the same reasons most transplants do: He grew up in a small town and was drafted by a football team in a small town, and aside from the one and a half years he spent at Cal, he'd never experienced life in a city before.

"I think organized religion can have a mind-debilitating effect, because there is an exclusivity that can shut you out from being open to the world, to people, and energy, and love and acceptance. All appear to be unaware -- or uninterested -- that a future Hall of Famer is in their midst. He likes it all: the live music, the organic grocery stores, the expectation that he can walk around without being stalked by middle-aged men with Sharpies asking him to sign memorabilia they'll later sell on e Bay.

It was unusually cold in Arlington during the week leading up to Super Bowl XLV; a winter storm had barreled into Texas, blanketing Cowboys Stadium with so much snow that slabs of ice cascaded from the roof.

As he reflected on the sacrifices and the slights, he wondered whether it was all worth it, and then he felt something unexpected -- not regret or fulfillment but a different sensation, like a space had opened inside of him.

Someone brought the Vince Lombardi Trophy on board, and the players passed it around like a collection plate, each taking a moment to palm the sterling silver.

Rodgers, 33, isn't studiously bland, like many of his elite brethren, and he isn't evasive either. Throughout his youth, Rodgers wore these indignities on his body like lashes, looking at the scars whenever he needed motivation. For years, Rodgers seemed convinced that the world didn't believe in him; then, in an instant, he'd produced irrefutable evidence that the world was wrong.

'" For years, these concerns nagged at him, especially as he met more people from other walks of life -- teammates who grew up in different parts of the world, friends with different religious backgrounds.

He started reading books that delved into alternate interpretations of theology.

A couple of hours later, Rodgers texted me and told me he'd come here. His name, once the province of the sports pages, started to appear with greater regularity in the tabloids, and last summer, when his younger brother, Jordan, revealed on The Bachelorette that Aaron no longer had a relationship with the family, those stories took on a new life. But the drumbeat of gossip and innuendo kept rising, and at some point, he realized his voice was lost in the noise.

So now he's sitting a few feet away from me on my sofa in a black T-shirt and jeans, Stan Smiths tapping on the floor, his arm -- maybe the most valuable arm in the world -- resting on a throw pillow. When he sits down, he scans the room, his eyes flickering as he processes my books, my records, the dog toy I forgot to pick up before he arrived. So he's found himself here, on my sofa, popping probably-not-fresh berries into his mouth as the room fills with light. "Just to be understood a little bit more." the stuff of NFL legend, is best summarized as a long list of slights: A scrawny kid becomes a talented high school quarterback but fails to attract any interest from Division I schools.

Rodgers, 33, isn't studiously bland, like many of his elite brethren, and he isn't evasive either. Throughout his youth, Rodgers wore these indignities on his body like lashes, looking at the scars whenever he needed motivation. For years, Rodgers seemed convinced that the world didn't believe in him; then, in an instant, he'd produced irrefutable evidence that the world was wrong.

'" For years, these concerns nagged at him, especially as he met more people from other walks of life -- teammates who grew up in different parts of the world, friends with different religious backgrounds.

He started reading books that delved into alternate interpretations of theology.

A couple of hours later, Rodgers texted me and told me he'd come here. His name, once the province of the sports pages, started to appear with greater regularity in the tabloids, and last summer, when his younger brother, Jordan, revealed on The Bachelorette that Aaron no longer had a relationship with the family, those stories took on a new life. But the drumbeat of gossip and innuendo kept rising, and at some point, he realized his voice was lost in the noise.

So now he's sitting a few feet away from me on my sofa in a black T-shirt and jeans, Stan Smiths tapping on the floor, his arm -- maybe the most valuable arm in the world -- resting on a throw pillow. When he sits down, he scans the room, his eyes flickering as he processes my books, my records, the dog toy I forgot to pick up before he arrived. So he's found himself here, on my sofa, popping probably-not-fresh berries into his mouth as the room fills with light. "Just to be understood a little bit more." the stuff of NFL legend, is best summarized as a long list of slights: A scrawny kid becomes a talented high school quarterback but fails to attract any interest from Division I schools.

The overlooked, undersized kid had made it to the mountaintop.