SACRAMENTO, CALIF. >> Aaron Rodgers is a giver, particularly to his native roots.
The Green Bay Packers quarterback, who grew up in Chico, purchased and gifted 375 football helmets — the VICIS ZERO1 models — to Chico High, Paradise High and Pleasant Valley, his alma mater.
This helmet was rated the best in the business by NFL/NFLPA laboratory testing for three successive seasons.
Rodgers made the donation through his Aaron Rodgers Foundation. It’s another meaningful gesture to for the people of Paradise, a town leveled by the Camp Fire that ravaged much of Butte County.
Paradise is 2-0, including an emotionally charged opening home win against Williams.
“I don’t know if anybody outside of Paradise and Butte County can truly understand what football means to helping us to feel normal again,” Paradise coach Rick Prinz said. “We’re grateful for Aaron’s donation.
“I’ve been the head coach now for eight years and not one time have I ever had to ask Aaron for anything. He calls or texts every year and says, ‘Coach, here is what I would like to do. Is this OK?’ He does so much for our school and community that most people have no idea.”
Said Rodgers in a release, “For me, this is a chance to step up and support the community where I was born and raised. I chose to invest in VICIS because of their ultimate commitment to player protection. These kids deserve the best, and I’m happy to play a small role in outfitting them with the safest helmets.”
Rodgers is also proof of late-bloomer success. He was not recruited out of high school, deemed too small at a slightly-built 5-foot-10.
As a two-year starter at Pleasant Valley in 2000 and 2001, Rodgers passed for 4,421 yards to go with a 4.0 grade-point average.
He played at Butte College in Oroville, where he caught the eye of then-Cal coach Jeff Tedford, who was initially recruiting a Butte College tight end.
Rodgers starred at Cal in 2003 and 2004, elevating the Bears to a national level. He was Green Bay’s first-round pick in the 2005 NFL draft and is in the midst of a Hall of Fame career.