Alum, NFL rookie gets rocky start

Former TCU football standout Cory Rodgers, who was drafted last spring by the Green Bay Packers, is showing improvement after a less-than-stellar summer of training camp and weapon charges. Rodgers was drafted by the Packers in the fourth round as the 104th pick overall.

He signed a four-year, $2.075 million contract with the Packers on July 26. The deal has a $465,120 signing bonus and a starting base salary of $275,000 for the 2006 season.

Rodgers decided to enter the draft last spring instead of finishing his senior year with the Frogs.

Gary Patterson, TCU head football coach, said he didn’t necessarily agree or disagree with Rodgers’ decision to enter the draft.

“In that situation, the only thing I can do is tell him the positives and the negatives,” Patterson said. “I can’t have an opinion.”

Shortly after being drafted, Rodgers was arrested at Stone Canyon Club in Fort Worth and charged with unlawfully carrying a weapon and discharging a firearm. The NFL and the Packers did not take disciplinary action.

Rodgers has struggled during training camp with the Packers, with uncharacteristic problems catching the ball. The situation was getting so bad that Rodgers was booed at practice Aug. 10 for dropping four of 11 punt returns.

Patterson said the main thing for Rodgers to focus on is doing everything he can to make the team. Only one out of about 32 rookies ever get on the team in the first place, he said.

“For a rookie, percentage wise, it’s a huge achievement just to make the team,” he said.

The Packers’ Aug. 12 preseason game against the San Diego Chargers marked improvement for Rodgers, who caught both punts he faced in the game.

Rodgers returned the first punt for 13 yards and the second for five yards. He averaged 16.3 yards on three kickoff returns, with the longest return being 19 yards.

Rodgers, an All-American kick returner for the Frogs, was a career leader in kickoff return yards (1747), and total return yards (2572). He tied a TCU record with 17 career touchdown receptions and 10 touchdowns rushing.