Originally posted on Fox Sports Wisconsin  |  Last updated 8/22/12
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Aaron Rodgers has not forgotten what it was like sitting in the green room during the 2005 NFL draft, waiting around as 23 other players were picked before the Green Bay Packers finally called his name. Cedric Benson, recently signed by the Packers, was one of the players Rodgers had to watch take the stage, shake the commissioner's hand and put on the hat of his new team. Benson wasn't on the draft board for long; the Chicago Bears selected the University of Texas running back with the fourth overall pick. Not until 20 spots later was it Rodgers' turn to take a deep breath and realize his NFL dreams. Seven years later, Rodgers and Benson are teammates, their football paths crossing once again. Rodgers is known for using falling far and fast in the 2005 draft as motivation for making him one of the league's top quarterbacks. "I've always kind of watched his career from afar," Rodgers said of Benson, who will get his first action as a Packer on Thursday night in a preseason game against his last team, the Cincinnati Bengals. "Being drafted in 2005, I've followed the guys I was drafted with and the guys in the green room. It's fun to see a lot of us still playing and playing at a high level. "It's fun to get Cedric in here. He's a very talented guy." Benson recalled what it was like immediately after getting drafted and going back to the area that he and his family and friends were seated at near Rodgers that day. "I was surprised that he hadn't gone earlier," Benson said. "I can remember when I was getting picked to go up there, I can remember looking back at him and giving him a nod like, You're up next,' or I know it's coming. Be positive about it.' "But strangely enough, what I remember most is him just sitting there." With a big smile, Rodgers quipped: "He was lucky to get out of the green room as fast as he did." As is the case every year with most players invited to the green room, Rodgers and Benson got to know each other fairly well leading up to the draft. "We had a lot of fun in those couple days," Rodgers said. "I knew he was a big-time player, and I enjoyed spending a little bit of time with him." From what Benson has seen of Rodgers so far in his 10 days with the Packers, the only thing different about the NFL's Most Valuable Player now is the trophy that came with that honor and the Super Bowl ring that's also part of his collection of recently won hardware. "What I recall of Aaron is just that he was a good, humble guy," Benson told FOXSportsWisconsin.com. "He's a good dude. Same guy he is now." Though Rodgers has had the more successful career of the two, it took him three full seasons before he started his first game. Brett Favre was still in Green Bay at the time, and Rodgers had no choice but to wait until the Packers' front office decided to move in a new direction. Benson, meanwhile, was squandering his opportunity in Chicago. Beginning his time with the Bears in a five-week contract holdout, Benson ran for only 272 yards as a rookie and never rushed for more than 674 yards in his disappointing three years that ended with his release. Rodgers has spent his entire career playing with a grudge, constantly wanting to prove to the 23 teams that passed on him in the draft that they made a huge mistake. Considering Benson could not get an offseason contract offer from the Bengals, the team that he had given three consecutive seasons of 1,000-plus rushing yards, Rodgers and his new running back both have an added edge now. "He's been through a lot," Benson said of Rodgers. "He's had a tough road, always having to prove himself. It's pretty cool (because) you want a guy like that. Those guys are the best guys because they've been through hardship. They know what it's like." To show just how much this opportunity means to Benson, he's been sitting next to Rodgers in all of the Packers' quarterback meetings. "I love how much it means to him, and I love the chip he's got on his shoulder," Rodgers said of Benson. "It's great. That's what I think you appreciate. I don't know if this is a second chance for him and he's viewing it like that and he wants to do some of the things that he hasn't done in the past, or maybe this is normal for him. But we love it. "Because this offense a lot of times turns into best-play scenarios at the line of scrimmage with me making some checks, him and I being on the same page is going to be important for us." Benson was signed by Green Bay more than two weeks into training camp, a move necessitated by the list of injuries suffered by Packers running backs, including projected starter James Starks. Not only is Starks out with turf toe, but Brandon Saine is sidelined by an injured hamstring. Plus, second-year running back Alex Green is still on a limited snap count as he recovers from a torn ACL that occurred midway through last season. So it's very likely Benson will be the Week 1 starter when the San Francisco 49ers' No. 1 run-stopping defense travels to Lambeau Field to begin the regular season. "There's high expectations for him," Rodgers said of Benson. "But we have no doubt he can come in and meet those expectations." That Packers-49ers game will also be a battle between Rodgers and the No. 1 overall pick in the 2005 draft, quarterback Alex Smith. Though 2011 was a good season for Smith, he has not been nearly as good as Rodgers over the past seven years since that draft. And even back then, Benson couldn't help but try to figure out what it was that Smith did to earn the top pick over Rodgers. "It's curious ... I wonder what made him any less than Alex Smith, or Alex Smith any better than him," Benson said. "You're always curious to what those scouts like about players." Follow Paul Imig on Twitter.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Seahawks players feel Sherman bombshell story ‘nailed it’

Turkey: Kanter a member of terrorist group, issues warrant

Chad Johnson says Roger Goodell consulted him on touchdown celebration rule change

Kevin Durant is not to blame for the NBA’s lack of parity, and he knows it

Khloe Kardashian called out Cavs fan who mentioned ‘curse’

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Warriors’ Mike Brown: Steve Kerr may be back for the Finals

Dodgers transfer Andrew Toles and Scott Kazmir to the 60-day disabled list

Looking back at 40 years of women racing in the Indianapolis 500

U.S. national soccer teams to wear LGBT-themed jerseys to celebrate pride month

Mike Zimmer: Teddy Bridgewater still has ‘long ways to go’

Report: Clippers concerned about Chris Paul leaving to sign with Spurs

Best of Yardbarker: Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines

The 'More like Whiffer, Texas Ranger...amirite?' quiz

The Rewind: Vince Carter's graduation day celebration that wasn't

Manu Ginobili gave life to the San Antonio Spurs

Stanley Cup Final: A David vs. Goliath matchup that's not as lopsided as it may appear

Why the Indianapolis 500 is called 'the greatest spectacle in racing'

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Box Score 5/26: Bring on the Finals

Why wait? Our too soon Cavaliers-Warriors NBA Finals preview

Kicking It: East is East, and West is West

Three Up, Three Down: Some surprises way out (NL) West

The 'Let's go to the videotape!' quiz

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Best of Yardbarker: Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines

The 'More like Whiffer, Texas Ranger...amirite?' quiz

Stanley Cup Final: A David vs. Goliath matchup that's not as lopsided as it may appear

Manu Ginobili gave life to the San Antonio Spurs

The Rewind: Vince Carter's graduation day celebration that wasn't

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Kicking It: East is East, and West is West

Three Up, Three Down: Some surprises way out (NL) West

The 'Let's go to the videotape!' quiz

Why the Indianapolis 500 is called 'the greatest spectacle in racing'

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker