Although they eventually came around to the idea, Aaron Rodgers and the New York Jets weren’t interested in doing HBO’s “Hard Knocks” this fall.
One thing Rodgers was excited about in the iconic documentary, however, was meeting narrator Liev Schreiber.
In Tuesday night’s first episode of the season, an in-depth look at Rodgers’ arrival to the Jets this summer, that much was clear. Rodgers seemed almost shocked when Schreiber arrived at training camp via helicopter. Rodgers immediately introduced himself and then tried to make everyone he could find look alike.
“This is the voice of God! Didn’t you say hello? Go and say hello! It is the voice of God!” he excitedly told his fellow quarterbacks before trying to get offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett to do the same.
“Go say hi! Don’t be an ass****,” he told Hackett. “He’s nervous and he wants to meet people.”
Schreiber, the longtime voice of the HBO show, seemed almost equally excited to break the barrier and meet Rodgers. However, that’s about it. Most people moved quickly.
“I didn’t know you were the voice of ‘Hard Knocks,'” Saleh told Schreiber.
“My mom said she didn’t even recognize my voice,” Schreiber replied.
After thanking Rodgers for being excited about coming to camp, Schreiber asked Rodgers why he wasn’t interested in being around the show.
“I think people worry that it’s a distraction,” Rodgers told him. “There are a lot of misnomers about it. I had a great experience.”
That’s what Rodgers said last month, though it didn’t come out well anywhere.
“I understand the appeal with us,” Rodgers said while playing in the American Century Championship. “Obviously there’s a lot of eyes on me. A lot of eyes on our team. We have a lot of expectations for our team. They shoved it down our throats and we had to deal with it.
Schreiber was his opposite.
Rodgers, however, seemed to fully embrace the “Hard Knocks” cameras — and his new role with the Jets — early on.
The episode featured plenty of Rodgers settling into their preseason debut with the Jets, including his relationship with backup quarterback Zach Wilson, who lost his starting job last season before Rodgers arrived. Rodgers was seen working with and mentoring Wilson.
Rodgers, after spending his entire career with the Green Bay Packers, was traded to the Jets in April. The 39-year-old brings plenty of expectations to a franchise that hasn’t made the playoffs in more than a decade.
This season for the Jets, for better or worse, will be all about Rodgers. “Hard Knocks,” at least so far, fully embraces that fact.