Aaron Rodgers may not be a member of the California Bears football program anymore, but that doesn't mean that he doesn't care about his old head coach Jeff Tedford.
Tedford was fired on Tuesday after 11 seasons on the Bears' sidelines per CBS Sports' Bruce Feldman. That led his former quarterback to voice his displeasure with the decision in an interview with ESPN 540 (via FOX Sports Wisconsin).
Rodgers, who started at Cal in 2003 and 2004, had this to say:
It's a terrible decision, and I think it's disrespectful, too.
In 2002, when I was recruited in December, they started talking about this stadium project. Coach had just come in. They went 7-5 but were under academic probation so they couldn't go to a bowl game. He had taken a 1-10 team and made them 7-5. Turned (quarterback) Kyle Boller from what he was into a first-round draft pick. I know Kyle owes a lot of his success to coach Tedford and his tutelage.
It's understandable that Rodgers is upset, but it's a bit uncommon that he would voice it so loudly. Rodgers and Boller were both great with Tedford leading the way, and if Tedford made Rodgers half of what he is today then the man deserves some credit.
The Packers quarterback didn't stop with that either. Rodgers went on to say:
Coach Tedford endured some pretty difficult situations there while his competitors ... in Washington, the Arizona schools, continued to improve their facilities," Rodgers told ESPN 540. "Now you get some facilities in there, you get a new stadium, you get an awesome new top deck over there that can overlook the bay. You get a 100-yard weight room. You get some competitive facilities now where you can really recruit some kids, and what do they do? They fire him.
Winningest coach in school history, and it's a shame because when you promise a guy the stuff that they promised him and then he fulfills everything they ask him to do on the field, regardless of the injuries they have this year, he continued to prepare those guys like I know he did. To not give him a chance to recruit with those facilities is a shame.
Yes, that's a lot to digest, but it's worth it. Rodgers makes good points all around.
The Bears have struggled in recent years, but look at what they're up against. Big-budget programs will succeed almost every time over the smaller schools, and Tedford didn't have the same resources as his competitors.
Now that the new stadium and facilities are in place, it's hard to say how that will help recruiting. However, you can't imagine that it won't get better. Recruits love shiny new things and a new-age program. Now, the Bears have that.
California can still recruit, but Tedford deserved the first chance with the new stadium. As Rodgers mentions, he's the winningest coach in school history. That, above all else, commands respect.
Obviously Rodgers' disapproval doesn't matter at this point, but no school likes to hear something like this from a notable alumni. Rodgers didn't hold back, and he clearly holds the administration accountable for its decision. That alone will give the public something to think about when they ponder Tedford's firing.
Public perception is everything. Rodgers has pull among football fans. If he says firing Tedford was bad, then for some it must be.
If the Bears' new coach, whoever that may be, doesn't win, then everyone will remember what Rodgers' statements here.
Recent struggles aside, Tedford did a solid job with the Cal program. At least in Rodgers' opinion, that means more than this firing would allow you to believe.